Lance Stroll has insisted he did slow down when he saw marshals on the track during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – but that he had been given no warning.
The Racing Point driver had been allowed to unlap himself during a Safety Car period at Imola and was trying to join the back of the pack.
In doing so, he whizzed past a marshal who was clearing debris away from the scene of the incident where George Russell had spun his Williams into the wall while trying to warm up his tyres behind the Safety Car.
The area where the marshals were working on the Russell accident was under double waved yellow flag conditions.
Alfa Romeo duo Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi both slowed considerably when they reached that part of the circuit, while Romain Grosjean was warned by the Haas team and Sebastian Vettel lifted off before telling Ferrari about the marshals over the team radio.
The most alarming incident involved Stroll, who said he also slowed down but that lessons needed to be learned.
Looks like cars were told to unlap themselves while marshals were still on track 😱 Stroll flies by the Russell accident at full racing speed. The onboard vid is like something from the 1960s 😳😳😳 https://t.co/Ip1r9LbUUT
— Tom Bellingham (@TommyWTF1) November 1, 2020
“I saw the marshal on the track, of course, and immediately lifted off and was as safe as I could be in that section of the track,” said Stroll, during his press conference on the eve of the Turkish Grand Prix weekend in Istanbul and quoted by The Race.
“But I wasn’t warned and I wasn’t expecting to see anyone on the track once I got the message that I was allowed to overtake the Safety Car and catch the back of the train.
“Thankfully nothing bad happened there. But we’ll have to address it and make sure something like that doesn’t happen again.”
Grosjean, director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, said the matter would be discussed in the Friday drivers’ briefing with race director Michael Masi in Istanbul.
“I don’t know what could have been done better, but I was a bit surprised that there were marshals on track at the point where we were going quite fast,” said Grosjean.
“It was made worse by the fact it was a blind spot on the track, and also they were trying to clear as much as they could as quickly as they could for the race to resume.
“We can bring that up in the drivers’ meeting, just to make sure that at least we get the communication so we are aware of what’s coming.
“It wasn’t a big deal. I guess it’s just that it was a bit of a surprise at the time, and it’s never nice to be driving and seeing people on track.
“For the people being on track it’s never nice to see the cars coming quite fast, because I think we were unlapping ourselves at the time and we were just pushing to catch the back of the pack before it restarts.”