Formula 1

Hamilton: F1 'made a bad choice' running two laps, but 'money talks'

Lewis Hamilton believes Formula 1 “made a bad choice” running only two laps behind the safety car to secure a Belgian Grand Prix result, but that “money talks”.

Heavy rain delayed the start of Sunday’s race at Spa and a wait of almost three hours under a red flag before the safety car was able to lead the field out of the pit lane after 6pm.

The field completed two laps behind the safety car, making the grand prix official and ensuring that a result could be declared, before the red flag returned and officials announced the race would not resume.

Hamilton was classified third for Mercedes, meaning his lead at the top of the F1 championship over Max Verstappen drops to just three points after the Red Bull driver took a half-points victory.

Hamilton wrote on social media during the red flag delay that it was “far too dangerous for us to go out” and that it would "put everyone at risk” running in the wet conditions.

Speaking to Sky Sports in the TV pen after the race had been called, Hamilton said he felt “really disappointed” for the fans and that they were “robbed of a race, adding they deserved their money back.

Asked how he felt about half-points being awarded for the two laps behind the safety car, Hamilton replied: “Money talks. And it was literally, the two laps to start the race, it’s all money scenario.

“So everyone gets their money, and I think the fans should get theirs back too, because unfortunately, they didn’t get to see what they came and paid for.

“It’s a shame we can’t do the race tomorrow. But yeah. And I love this track as well. I’m so sad that we couldn’t do this, but today wasn’t a race.”

Fans under umbrellas during a red flag period

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Hamilton said there would be “discussions” with those in charge of F1, and criticised the call to complete the two laps to ensure there was an official result.

“I think the sport made a bad choice today,” Hamilton said.

“Of course we wanted to race. There’s a minimum of two laps that you need to do to count as a race, and between that gap of stopping the first time to the second time, it had rained consistently.

“There’s only one reason they sent us out. So that’s why I feel more bad for the fans.”

Hamilton was heard on team radio during the opening formation laps behind the safety car before the first red flag reporting that visibility was poor and that he had little grip due to the wet conditions.

“You couldn't really see five metres in front of you, the car disappears,” Hamilton said.

“So [it was] very difficult down the straights to even know where that flashing light was, and you couldn't even go flat out down, because you didn't know what part of the track that would be on.

“So it's a shame, because of course I wanted to race, and I think it could have been a great race if it hadn't rained so hard.”

The 2021 Belgian Grand Prix now stands as the shortest F1 race in history to have a formal result, beating the 14-lap 1991 Australian Grand Prix.

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