Lewis Hamilton wasn’t happy at being forced to wait around as the weather gods and pedantic officials took centre stage in Monaco.
Lewis Hamilton hit out at the FIA for its handling of a chaotic Grand Prix in Monaco that saw the race delayed by 70 minutes because of torrential rain.
Confused fans were left wondering what the hold-up was as the wait for lights out was extended.
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After an initial delay, announced just minutes before the scheduled start, drivers completed two formation laps behind the Safety Car before conditions got even worse and the reg flags were brought out.
“You think they didn’t do a good job? I was not saying it was a mistake — I don’t know the reason for them not sending us out at the get-go — but we are Formula 1 drivers so (the weather) is not a good enough reason,” Hamilton said.
“That is what I was saying. I was like ‘let’s go’ when it was just drizzling a little bit at the beginning.
“We will talk about it in the drivers’ briefing but we should have started the race.”
Hamilton wasn’t the only one asking why there was such a long delay. Max Verstappen asked “what are we waiting for?” while commentator Jolyon Palmer called it an “odd delay”, as fans vented their fury on social media.
The wet weather didn’t hurt Sergio Perez, who won the race ahead of Carlos Sainz. Perez’s Red Bull teammate Verstappen crossed the line third while Charles Leclerc was furious with Ferrari after his team’s botched pit-stop strategy cost him victory.
The FIA defended its handling of the race. The second, 45-minute delay was caused by a power outage, while the first delay was reportedly to give teams enough time to change to wet weather tyres when the rain started pouring.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff supported the officials’ decisions and claimed “an issue with the connectivity for the TV broadcast” was behind the frustrating wait.
“That was the usual chaotic race in Monaco,” Wolff said in a team statement after Mercedes drivers George Russell and seven-time champion Hamilton finished fifth and eighth.
“And, once again, a lesson that we need to look at this circuit’s layout so that people can’t drive around five seconds off the pace in a procession.
“This is a fantastic venue and spectacle, but it would be great if the racing could be at the same level.
“With the length of the race and the delays and interruptions, it felt more like an NFL game than a Grand Prix.
“But I’m not sure that much more could have been done.
“We need to give the race directors credit for managing a difficult situation. The rain was torrential, then there was an issue with the connectivity for the TV broadcast, which meant we couldn’t get going.”
Meanwhile, Wolff hinted at what may be needed for the under-threat Monaco Grand Prix to retain its place on the F1 calendar.
As the race promoters seek to extend the event’s contract in negotiations with the commercial rights holder Liberty Media, Wolff commented that the wild race “felt more like an NFL game” because it lasted so long.
The circuit layout’s restricted overtaking opportunities, local management of the main broadcast feed for the event and control of circuit advertising and sponsorship are reported to be among the most vexed issues in the talks.
“I’m biased. I live here, I love it and what Monaco has to offer is spectacular,” Wolff said on Sunday.
“F1 is important for Monaco and Monaco is important for F1, but it needs a positive approach from both parties.
“Monaco has to embrace the new realities of what the sport stands for today and the impact it has on the world.
“And at the same time, Monaco will always be respected within F1 as something which is special. No one should take things for granted. If we didn’t race in Monaco, it would be a shame from my perspective as a team owner.”