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Max Verstappen

Verstappen praises FIA for averting danger with Sprint protocols

The Sprint got underway under the Safety Car in wet conditions on Saturday.

Max Verstappen has praised the FIA for its decision-making during the Belgian Grand Prix Sprint.

Race control first delayed the start of Saturday's event to allow a rain cell to pass having assessed the radar - which proved to be entirely accurate.

Once the rainfall had subsided, the Sprint got underway behind the Safety Car, initially for one formation lap and then a further four laps as the field cleared standing water with the Extreme Wet tyres.

Race control then decided to get the race underway with a rolling start, although only 10 cars passed the line as half the field pitted for Intermediates immediately.

Much had been made over safety protocols heading into the weekend given the tragic events that took the life of 18-year-old Dilano van 't Hoff in a wet FRECA race earlier this month and Verstappen put full backing behind the FIA's decision-making under pressure.

"I think the rolling start was a smart thing to do in these kinds of conditions," the F1 championship leader told media including RacingNews365 after winning the shortened 11-lap event.

"Nobody could really see what was happening in front, and especially on the new tarmac around here, there’s a lot more standing water, so I think it would have been quite dangerous out of Turn 1 and through Eau Rouge.

"You don't want that when all the cars are super-close and there is a little moment.

"That was a good choice. I think we could have raced a little bit earlier – maybe two laps earlier – but again, I prefer to do it like this than go out there when it’s unsafe and they release us. So, it’s ok."

Extra formation laps at every race?

Given his backing of the procedures used on Saturday, Verstappen was asked whether the formation lap tactic should be employed for all wet-wether starts.

"I think it really depends on the conditions we are facing: how wet it is, visibility-wise," replied Verstappen.

"Every track is a little bit different with that.

"I think here it was probably quite a safe view on things but I prefer that than risking it and going too early. But other tracks again, maybe it's a bit different. I don't think it needs to be clear four or five laps."

F1 2023 Belgian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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