Hamilton: Belgian GP Safety Car call ‘a bit like NASCAR’

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Lewis Hamilton criticized the decision to deploy the Safety Car during Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Belgium, believing it was done in the interests of creating a closer battle at the front of the field.

The Safety Car was called for on Lap 30 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps after contact between Force India teammates Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon left debris strewn across the circuit.

The bunching of the field saw Hamilton’s lead over title rival Sebastian Vettel evaporate, with the Briton calling the decision “BS” over team radio at the time.

“I felt it was a bit like NASCAR, where they keep pulling out the safety cars for no reason,” Hamilton said after the race, referring to the ‘caution clock’ concept that looks to aid the on-track action.

“The wing was cleared. After we’d slowed down they could have done a Virtual Safety Car but I guess they wanted to see a race.

“That’s for sure the reason they did they, because there was hardly any debris, if at all, they cleaned it so well.”

Despite coming under pressure from Vettel immediately after the race returned to green, Hamilton was able to kick on and secure his fifth victory of the season, cutting the Ferrari driver’s championship lead down to just seven points.

“It’s an amazing feeling to come back into the season and start off on the right foot, being that the Ferraris obviously finished on the right foot going into the break,” Hamilton said.

“They’ve really put in a fantastic fight today. The speed and pace they had was very strong. There was not a single point at which I would say that I could be comfortable.”

Hamilton and Vettel will write the latest chapter of their rivalry this weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.