Lewis Hamilton accused Formula One of putting drivers’ lives at risk in Sunday’s crash-hit Tuscan Grand Prix.
The world champion overcame two red flags to win for a 90th time and move to within one of Michael Schumacher’s victory record.
But tempers flared during the chaotic race here in Mugello with Romain Grosjean accusing Valtteri Bottas of ‘wanting to kill’ him.
Bottas was leading when he backed the field up until the start-finish line following the conclusion of a safety car period. Moments later a dramatic four-way crash ensued.
But Hamilton said Bottas was not to blame – instead believing that his team-mate was left with no option after the safety car lights were turned off too late in the lap. The switching off of the lights indicate when the race is about to resume.
“It was not Valtteri’s fault at all but the decision-makers,” said the world champion.
“They are trying to make it more exciting but today they put people at risk. It was over the limit so there needs to be a rethink.
“These races can get boring when the field stretches out and the safety car brings it back closer together. They do it in NASCAR all the time to keep the racing exciting.
“But they have to take into account the safety aspect. Today wasn’t safe and you could see it coming.”
A number of drivers were too eager to get on the accelerator pedal ahead of the restart on lap seven. In the middle of the pack, rookie Nicholas Latifi jumped on the gas but had to brake dramatically.
A concertina effect followed, with Antonio Giovinazzi slamming into the back of the Williams driver. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz then hit Giovinazzi, with the Italian driver sent airborne. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was blasted from behind by the out-of-control Giovinazzi, with all four cars ending up in the barriers along the main straight.
Latifi, Giovinazzi and Magnussen walked away from the accident, but Sainz sustained bruising to both hands in the high-speed shunt. The crash led to the race being red-flagged for the second time in as many weekends.
A furious Grosjean yelled over the radio: “That was f****** stupid from whoever was at the front. They want to kill us or what? This is the worst thing I have ever seen.”
Bottas was cleared by the stewards of any wrongdoing. Twelve of the 18 drivers still left in the race – Bottas not among them – were later warned following an investigation but not one was found “wholly or predominantly to blame”.
Hamilton’s sixth win from nine rounds moved him 55 points clear of Bottas in the standings. He will get his first shot at matching Schumacher’s win record in Russia a week on Sunday.