Lando Norris has said the decisions made by Race Control to delay the start of the Monaco Grand Prix were the right call.
McLaren’s Lando Norris has praised the calls made to delay the start of the Monaco Grand Prix, after heavy rain struck the circuit 10 minutes after the originally planned start time.
Just minutes before the lights were due to go out, the race was delayed by six minutes to allow the teams to make adjustments and fit tyres suitable for the wet conditions. Setting off behind the Safety Car, conditions quickly worsened, with the race red-flagged.
There was no action for almost an hour after that, with an explanation later coming from the FIA that the heavy rain had resulted in a power outage and question marks over whether the starting gantry lights would work correctly.
The decision to postpone the start has met with mixed reactions from drivers, broadcasters, and pundits, but one man to step forward and back the decisions made by Race Control is Norris, who said the conditions were clearly not safe.
“I know there have been questions asked about the delays on Sunday; whether the race could have got going sooner than it did,” he said in a column for the UK’s Telegraph.
“But, honestly, I think the stewards got it about right.
“I would have been asking the same questions myself as a spectator. We all want the best show possible. But it was not safe. Believe me, as drivers, you are desperate for any opportunity to move up the field. Particularly at a track like Monaco where overtaking is nigh on impossible.”
Norris said that it was only when he got behind the wheel of the car he realised how bad the conditions were.
“It’s only when you are actually in an F1 car, feeling brake temperatures, the tyre temperatures, the grip levels, that you can truly appreciate what is possible and what is not,” he said.
“What is safe and what is not. And it was not safe on Sunday. You literally couldn’t see five metres in front of you during that first attempt to get the race underway.
“Ultimately, it is me that is risking my neck out there.”
As conditions dried once the race got underway, Haas’ Mick Schumacher had a hefty crash at the Swimming Pool complex as he lost control of the rear of his car.
It was this moment that Norris said showed the dangers of the conditions.
“We all saw the consequences of one tiny error on Sunday,” he said.
“Mick Schumacher missed the apex of the right-hander at the Swimming Pool and positioned the car just a fraction offline – maybe no more than 10cm – and that was it. Game over.
“The truth is we are all millimetres away from having a crash like that every single lap. It can be something as small as hitting a bump slightly wrong, or missing a gear change. That is what makes it so intense.
“At turn one alone I reckon there were six, seven, eight times during that race when I braked and thought ‘I’m in the wall here!’ When you’re trying to recover from a lock-up, and position the car to give yourself the best opportunity of making it round.
“Everything happens so fast but you’re almost on autopilot, doing everything instinctively. They are not nice moments to have and seeing a crash like Mick’s does shake you up. It was a relief to see him walk away.”