'Want to win on track' – Red Bull chief Christian Horner hits out at Italian GP ending behind controversial safety car | The Sun
12th September 2022

CHRISTIAN HORNER has hit out at the ending of the Italian Grand Prix, after a safety car denied fans as grandstand finish.

Sunday's race ended behind the safety car following a late crash from McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo, much to the dismay of fans, Ferrari and even Horner.



The Red Bull team chief told Sky Sports F1: "We don't want to win a race under a safety car.

"It's something we've talked about for many many years, that they should finish racing. There was enough time to get that race going."

Ricciardo, who will be replaced at McLaren by compatriot Oscar Piastri for next season, suffered an oil leak on lap 47 which caused him to stop on track.

But despite the track being cleared for the final lap, race directors opted to finish the race under the safety car, perhaps fearing the similarities which might be drawn to events at Abu Dhabi last season.

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Bringing in the safety car would have set up a sprint finish between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, who were both vying for the lead of the race.

However, the race controversially ended under safety car conditions despite the pleas of Leclerc and the Italian crowd to get racing back underway.

Verstappen ended up winning the race and extending his lead at the top of the Championship, while Leclerc and George Russell finished second and third respectively.

Despite the danger Verstappen's lead would have been under, Horner was bullish about their chances of winning the race even if it had resumed.

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"We had the faster car and we would have liked to win the race on the track, not behind the safety car," he added.

"We share the disappointment of all the fans, because it took away a grandstand finish.

"It goes against the principles of what we've discussed previously. The biggest losers were the fans."

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto was far more critical of the decision, saying: "Finishing behind a safety car is never great, not for us, but F1 and the show. I think there was time for the FIA to act differently today.

"After Abu Dhabi last year, we had long discussions with the sport because the final objective is to try and restart the race in a safe manner, and I think today we could have."

Lewis Hamilton, who made up good ground to finish in P5, agreed with the race directors decision, but gave no illusions as to his feelings towards the rules which controversially denied him an eighth world title.

He said: "That is the rule that it should be, right? So only one time, in the history of the sport, that they haven't done the rule (at Abu Dhabi)."

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also agreed that "this time" the rulebook had been followed.

Following Verstappen's 11th win of the season, his lead over second placed Leclerc is now 116 points, and the Dutchman could theoretically win his second title in Singapore – the next race.

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