The end of the Italian Grand Prix was met by an onslaught of boos by the Tifosi, after race winner Max Verstappen crossed the finish line behind the Safety Car, under questionable circumstances.
A Safety Car was deployed on Lap 47/53 of the race at Monza, after Daniel Ricciardo pulled to the inside of the circuit between the two Lesmos, to retire from the race.
The marshals attempted to push Ricciardo’s car into a safe spot; however, they were unable to do this due to the 33-year-old’s MCL36 having been stuck in gear.
Due to a tractor being needed to lift Ricciardo’s car to safety, the length of which the race was neutralised behind the Safety Car was extended considerably.
By the time Ricciardo’s car was out of the way, there was only a single lap remaining.
This, of course, meant there was insufficient time for race director Niels Wittich to restart the race, resulting in him having the race end behind the Safety Car, as it is written in the rulebook.
Sir Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff praised Wittich for following the rulebook, whereas some drivers and team principals were left to question why the race wasn’t red-flagged and restarted once the circuit was clear.
Carlos Sainz was one of the drivers who questioned why the Safety Car was so long, with the Spaniard believing it cost him a spot on the podium in front of the Tifosi.
“If you are there in the position Charles and I were in, you prefer a red flag,” he said, per Mundo Deportivo.
“For me, the fair compromise is not having to be there for five or six laps to get a car out. For me, we were too slow to get the car back. I don’t know if the race director could have done more.
“Letting the safety car go earlier to get behind Max and Charles… for me, the whole procedure was slow and we have to improve as a sport.
“The red flag? Yes, it’s better for today, for sure, but the fair compromise would be to be quicker to get the car out.”
Sainz had driven magnificently at the ‘Temple of Speed’, having recovered to fourth place following on from his P18 start.
Sainz was forced to start at the back due to a new power unit having been fitted to his F1-75; however, he made lightwork of the majority of the field.
The Safety Car unfortunately, meant Sainz didn’t have the time to overtake George Russell for third, something he’s certain he would’ve done had the last lap not been completed behind the Safety Car.
“I can assure you if I had got there on the last lap I would have attacked, because there was nothing to lose and because I knew after 15 overtakes I knew how to attack and how to brake and what to do,” said the Ferrari driver.