Hamilton: Rain not a good enough reason not to race

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton at the rolling start in Monaco. Monaco May 2022

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the rolling start in Monaco. Monaco May 2022

Lewis Hamilton feels Race Control got it wrong delaying the start of the Monaco Grand Prix as rain is “not a good enough reason” not to race.

The formation lap at the Monaco Grand Prix was twice pushed back, the FIA releasing a statement saying that was done with the safety of the drivers in mind.

“Race Control was monitoring a severe downpour that was rapidly approaching the circuit,” said motorsport’s governing body.

“As it arrived during the start procedure, the SC start and its associated procedures were implemented. This was done for safety reasons in consideration of no wet running this weekend.”

The irony was that after the delayed start and two formation laps behind the Safety Car, the rain became a serious problem with Race Control having to red-flag the event.

Hamilton feels the start should have gone ahead on time.

“You think they didn’t do a good job? I was not saying it was a mistake – I don’t know the reason for them not sending us out at the get-go – but we are Formula 1 drivers so [the weather] is not a good enough reason,” Hamilton told the PA news agency.

“That’s what I was saying. I was like ‘let’s go’ when it was just drizzling a little bit at the beginning.

“We will talk about it in the drivers’ briefing but we should have started the race.”

 

Sent back to the pit lane in their race order, the drivers waited a further 45 minutes before the race got under way behind the Safety Car.

All the drivers were on full wet tyres with Race Control declaring a rolling start.

It has subsequently been revealed that was because the rain had caused a power outage that affected the starting procedure, including the lights.

 

Max Verstappen, speaking before news of the power outage had emerged, said the FIA made the right call for a rolling start as one side of the grid was much wetter than the other and that would have given drivers an unfair advantage.

“It was going to be a rolling start,” he said. “A standing start, of course, it might make a difference. But anyway, it wouldn’t have been fair if it would have been a standing start just because of the difference in…well, the left side was still quite wet.

“And that’s why it was a good call to do a rolling start.”

Verstappen finished the grand prix on the podium, extending his lead over Charles Leclerc in the standings to nine, while Hamilton was eighth.