Leclerc frustrated by decision not to restart Italian Grand Prix

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc was disappointed by the decision to finish the Italian Grand Prix behind Safety Car after taking second behind Max Verstappen.

The Ferrari driver led the early stages of the race but was running second behind Verstappen in the closing stages after making two pit stops – the first under an early Virtual Safety Car period – to his rival’s one.

A late Safety Car period, triggered when Daniel Ricciardo stopped at the side of the track, appeared to offer all the drivers an opportunity for a sprint to the chequered flag. But the race was never restarted, and Leclerc was followed Verstappen home as his rival took his fifth win in a row.

“The end was frustrating,” Leclerc said. “I wish we could have ended up racing, unfortunately we were second at that point because of what happened before so it’s a shame but overall I gave it all, P2 today.”

Jeers from the crowd rang out after the anticlimactic end to the race. “I wish I could have won in front of the amazing Tifosi we have here but I just couldn’t today,” Leclerc added.

He indicated he wasn’t convinced Ferrari’s call to pit early, during that first Virtual Safety Car, had been correct. “We didn’t know what they were going to do behind so we took that choice,” he explained.

“Obviously we finished P2 so I’m not extremely happy with the race but we’ll work on that.”

Verstappen rose from seventh place to second by lap five and the Red Bull looked a strong contender for victory regardless of Ferrari’s strategy.

“We had a great race,” said Verstappen about his 11th victory of the year. “On every compound we were the quickest and the deg was very good so we had a really good race car and basically just controlling the gap.

“Of course then the Safety Car came out, unfortunately we didn’t get a restart but overall we had a really good day.”

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2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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17 comments on “Leclerc frustrated by decision not to restart Italian Grand Prix”

  1. He should be more disappointed about the early pitstop.

    But I agree that a late SC always ruins the race.
    If you need a safe track during the final couple of laps then call a Red Flag and restart with fresh tyres for all.

  2. Only a one-off, but the VSC stop was perhaps slightly hurried.

  3. What happened to “let them race” quotes from last year ? The fault lies directly to F1 management. Their actions provoke nothing less than boos and critisism.

    1. People lost their minds over it and now they follow the rules to the letter.

      This is what you wanted. This is what you got.

      1. True..Toto just wanted Masi’s head since he felt insulted over the team radio..

    2. Masi is no longer race director?

    3. “boos and criticism” I’m surprised you could hear the boos on tv considering that the F1 producers pumped in fake cheers over the live feed, it was almost surreal hearing the huge boos when Martin Brundle started to interview max and the sudden change to fake looping canned cheers .

      That gesture by FOM perfectly summarizes the distain gaslighting the loyal fanbase and the farcical handling of the end of the race was the cherry on top.

      Embarrassing, 2022 season is by far the worst of the hybrid era

  4. I guess I am one of the few people that actually were happy about the Safety Car ending… Not that I enjoy the procession to the flag, but if there is an hazard on track, you need to follow the procedures until the hazard is cleared. Maybe this time they took a bit longer than necessary, but if anything that’s on the track officials (and also the awkward place where Ricciardo stopped).

    Any sport will always be in the awkward position of having to balance sporting integrity and spectacle. You can’t go too much either way. But if you have to choose, what would it be? At least for me, if the debate is up, I would choose the sporting side, instead of the WWE side. Throwing a red flag to ensure a grandstand finish (as they did last year in Baku), while entertaining, does go towards eroding F1’s stand as a sport. From a procedural point of view, a red flag is used for safety reasons, not for entertainment. From a sporting perspective, today’s leader could have been a well-earned victory in jeopardy just for the sake of “the show”. Just like last year’s season finale leader had his well-earned lead removed by a decision taken “for the show”.

  5. What surprises me after Abu Dhabi is that there hasn’t been a fixed procedure for late incidents put in place to take away the confusion about what might happen and ensure all races end under green flag conditions.

    Something along the lines of if the race isn’t going to restart by 2 laps to go, then the race is red flagged with a standing start and 2 racing laps.

    I don’t have an issue with trying to finish under green flag if at all possible as long as it’s a written rule that applies equally to every race.

  6. That’s the Abu Dhabi finale you wanted.

  7. It’s difficult to see what race control could have done different today. The rules are as they are and it’s not a disaster to finish a race behind the safety car. It’s better than go racing at all costs, but they have to think about improving their procedures.
    We had one single car stranded next to the track and they weren’t able to bunch the field up for 6 laps und were unable to remove the hazard for the entire rest of the race.
    Maybe they could rise the safety car speed limit where it’s safe in order to help the cars catching the safety car quicker.
    And please let go of the lapped cars may now overtake rule. They don’t deserve that and the leader is already punished enough.
    Or, dare I say it, they could use red flags for incidents like this. With no tyre changing and a rolling start of course.

    1. I don’t like the red flag, and red flag rules…
      I do like your suggestion: a red flag, but no tyre changes, and a rolling start.
      without these 2 options, I feel like the leader gets too much of a disadvantage.

      Yeah, thinking about it some more.
      with (lees than) 5 (or 10, or whatever) laps to go: red flag, everyone in the fastlane, no changes.
      Restart: follow the leader untill sector 3, and from there he can do a restart like they normally do after a SC

  8. I was hoping for a normal finish, but didn’t expect that. However, everything could’ve been done faster. The safety car came out late, and because of that marshals couldn’t clear the track. Then it took a while to catch race leader. And then it was almost the end of the race. But I agree that something should be done about that, like extending the race by 1 lap just to end it in normal fashion.

    I should also note Ferrari’s strategy today. Either they shouldn’t have pitted Lecler that early, even though it was tempting, or they should’ve put hard tyres on. Because 2 stop strategy was never a good choice in Monza as far as I remember (and I watch F1 22 years). I remember when in 2010 Vettel done 52 laps on one set of tyres and stopped on the penultimate lap because it was mandatory (and still is). So I’d be willing to question Ferrari’s strategy (again) – they wanted to look sharp, but they weren’t.

    1. @osvaldas31 The moment Max ended lap 1 in 3rd place, it was over. No matter what Ferrari did, they would lose.

  9. I’m just on my way back from Monza to the UK. Really disappointed by the finish, and also feeling slightly cheated by F1. We fans pay a lot for the privilege of watching the sport. We paid to see a race and deserve to see one.

    I know this is slightly off topic but whilst I met some fantastic people at Monza (including a taxi driver who gave me some fantastic recipes!) F1 is not treating fans well. Confiscating plastic bottles of water, then making them queue up to buy tokens, then queue again to buy water with the tokens is pretty cynical. I’m sure they will justify it on some grounds but in that heat it was not nice.

    I’ve loved the track from afar for years, but disappointed (and sweaty) after today.

  10. Red flag would give Ferrari.. and ‘the show’ a chance to salvage something today.

  11. “Leclerc frustrated by decision not to restart Italian Grand Prix”

    #Me too.

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