F1 CEO responds to Lewis Hamiltons money talks dig after dramatic Belgian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button
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The F1 CEO has hit back at Lewis Hamilton’s comments that ‘money talks’ following the unusual Belgian Grand Prix. Stefano Domenicali rejected the seven-time champion’s claim that money played a part in the officials’ decision to ensure that the Belgian Grand Prix was officially deemed a race.
He told Motorsport.com: “When I hear that there was some commercial discussion behind that, it’s totally not true, because when we’re talking about racing, there is responsibility, that is a clear process, and those things are not connected at all.”
Heavy rain caused long delays at Spa yesterday, as the drivers came out to try and start the race, but poor visibility forced the officials to call the drivers back into the pit lane.
Later, the drivers tried to race again, but conditions appeared to be much worse.
However, two laps of the track needed to be completed to constitute a race, which took place behind a safety car.
That was enough to ensure that half-points could be awarded to the top 10.
JUST IN: Lewis Hamilton blasts F1 chiefs in scathing Belgian GP verdict – ‘Sport made a bad choice’
Domenicali added that F1 would still receive its full sanctioning fee even if the race did not go ahead as planned.
“Absolutely. That’s why I said to consider that as something related to a commercial implication is wrong,” he expained.
As a result of only two completed laps behind the safety, Saturday’s qualifying session ultimately decided the classification.
Hamilton finished third in the race while Max Verstappen went on to win and George Russell came second, registering the first podium of his career in the process.
As a result, less than 75 per cent of the race was able to be completed, drivers in the top 10 were awarded half the amount of points they would usually score.
Verstappen was awarded 12.5 points for the win, cutting his rival’s championship lead to just three points.
Hamilton demanded that fans received refunds for their tickets at the race.
The financial repercussions of completely abandoning the race was behind the F1 chiefs’ decision-making, he claimed.
“Money talks, and literally the two laps to start the race was all a money scenario,” Hamilton told Sky Sports after the race.
“Everyone gets their money – and I think the fans should get theirs back too. Unfortunately they didn’t get to see what they paid for.”
He added: “It’s a shame we couldn’t do the race tomorrow. I love this track as well, so sad we couldn’t do this. Today wasn’t a race. I think the sport made a bad choice today.
“There was only one reason why they sent us out. That’s why I feel more bad for the fans.”
Hamilton also said he was disappointed for the fans, but admitted the driving conditions were extremely difficult and meant racing could not go ahead.
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