The restart at the Grand Prix of Tuscany went completely wrong. Valtteri Bottas waited for a long time to pull away and that meant the back of the field didn’t realise. Antonio Giovinazzi, Latifi, Magnussen and Sainz were all eliminated in the incident.
The F1 drivers who were eliminated in the Safety Car restart pile-up that triggered the first red flag in the Tuscan GP have had their say on the incident.
The Formula 1 drivers who were eliminated in the Safety Car restart pile-up that triggered the first red flag in the Tuscan Grand Prix have had their say on the incident.
F1’s first-ever race to be held at Mugello proved to be a chaotic and incident-packed affair, with the 59-lap race interrupted by two suspension periods.
Six drivers were forced into retirement before a full lap of racing had been completed, with Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly ending their races in the Turn 4 gravel which resulted in an immediate Safety Car.
The inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix had to be halted altogether when a number of cars in the middle of the pack collided on the main straight as the field bunched up to restart.
Kevin Magnussen was hit from behind by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi as the Haas driver braked to avoid slowing cars had, which caused a domino effect that saw McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Nicholas Latifi all get caught up in the melee.
Sainz, who was unscathed aside from a sore hand that he was seen nursing as he walked away from the scene of the accident, described the incident as “properly scary”.
“[It was] properly scary,” he explained. “We’re doing 290, 300 kph at that point, because everyone in front of me just thought that we were racing.
“Suddenly it looks like we were not racing anymore and everyone started braking again.
“By the time I saw everything it was just too late and it was a big crash. The main thing is we are all OK now.”
Giovinazzi has called for F1 to review its restart procedure and believes there are improvements to be made in order to avoid a repeat in future.
“People behind were pushing already,” he said. “The last thing that I saw was Magnussen completely stopped in front of me.
“I tried to avoid him but he was just there and I was already flat out. So it was just a really dangerous manoeuvre.
“I’m really frustrated especially because after lap one I was up to 14th and after that everything could happen. Just really dangerous things. We need to check what we can change of this.”
Magnussen, who has been summoned to see the stewards alongside Latifi, said he was unsure who was to blame for the accident.
“I haven’t watched it from all the cars ahead,” the Dane said.
“I think my feeling is that somebody maybe backed off to try to go and then gain momentum.
“I don’t know for sure, but suddenly the guys in front of me, the couple of cars ahead, they went and we were full throttle for at least a couple of seconds. Then they stopped, I had to stop and the cars behind me had to stop.
“Eventually somebody couldn’t react and there was a crash. It is something we want to avoid in the future.”
Magnussen’s teammate Grosjean was left fuming over team radio, saying: “That was fucking stupid from whoever was at the front. They want to kill us or what? This is the worst thing I have ever seen.”
Latifi revealed that he almost hit Magnussen at the final corner and insisted he was ultimately helpless to avoid the crash along the start-finish straight.
“On this track with the finishing line being so late it was quite clear, I think, that the leader was always going to try and go as late as possible, just to avoid the slipstream effect,” he said.
“In the midfield to the back of the pack the concertina effect always makes it a bit more difficult to judge.
“From already the little straight going into the last corner it seemed like at least the cars around me everyone was pushing flat out at the restart. So obviously I went.
“But I almost hit the back of Kevin already at the apex of the last corner, I had a really close miss there. And then we bunched up again and then it seemed like everyone went again.
“So when you’re that far back and just reacting to the cars around, in my experience when that happens as happened in Formula 2 in Baku most noticeably, if the leader doesn’t keep a consistent pace – I’m not sure if that’s the case, obviously, I can’t see – it just amplifies the effect.
“So I really couldn’t do anything to avoid that. It was a shame.”
Valtteri Bottas, who was leading the race at the time, rejected that he had played any role in causing the crash, adding the drivers who were taken out only had themselves to blame.
“We’re allowed to race from the control line, which has been there for a while I think,” Bottas explained.
“It’s just the decision this year has been that [on] the Safety Car they are putting the lights off quite late so you can only build the gap pretty late on.
“Of course when you’re at the lead you try to maximise your chances. I’m not at all to blame for that. Everyone can look everything they want for it.
“I was doing consistent speed until I went. Yes, I went late, but we start racing from the control line, not before that.
“So the guys behind who crashed because for that, they can look in the mirror, there’s no point whining about it.”
Daniil Kvyat, who finished seventh for AlphaTauri, has also been summoned to the stewards to explain his part in the incident.
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