When Lando Norris’ car had problems with the power plant, he received an order from the boxes to stop – and did it at the sixth turn, in a place convenient for evacuation. The marshals only had to put out the smoldering sidewall with a fire extinguisher and roll the car into the gate located a couple of meters away, but the race directors unexpectedly released the safety car.
After the race, many said that there was no need for this, and the safety car influenced the course of the race – the gaps were eliminated, and the riders who were lagging behind in the lap got an advantage, warming up the tires well, catching up with the peloton, while the five cars driving behind the safety car had rubber cooled down more and more.
Max Verstappen said after the finish that the race management released the safety car only to artificially increase the intrigue [превысив свои спортивные полномочия]rather than for security reasons. Besides, it was dangerous to ride on cold tires for so long. Commenting on the results of the day, FIA Racing Director Michael Masi strongly denied all this, as well as the obvious fact that the safety car remained on the track for too long.
Michael Masi: “We had two reasons to release the safety car. First, we saw fire and smoke on Lando’s car. Second, we were not sure that the car could be evacuated in that place.
As for the long period of the safety car, the rules say that the stragglers on the circle must catch up with the peloton, and the breaks at that moment were very large. Therefore, the wait turned out to be longer than usual. “