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Brazilian Grand Prix safety car

Brazilian Grand Prix red flagged twice after crashes

Brazilian Grand Prix safety car

The potentially title-deciding Brazilian Grand Prix started behind the safety car after a 10-minute delay due to rain on Sunday.

Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, who trails Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg by 19 points, led the field away from pole position at Interlagos.

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The drama started early when French driver Romain Grosjean crashed his Haas into the barriers on his way to the starting grid after losing control on standing water.

The safety car dipped into the pits on lap seven with Hamilton taking the lead, followed by Rosberg and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen made a gutsy move into Turn 1 stick to take third place from Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari.

On lap 11 Sebastian Vettel spun his Ferrari and three laps later Marcus Ericsson lost control, up the hill close to the pit entry, spun and hit the wall before coming to a rest in the pit lane entry and was lucky not to get collected by Verstappen who was pitting that lap.

The safety car was deployed once again, but the rain was incessant throughout the yellow period and the track seemed even more soaked when the field was released a few laps later.

But immediately after the second restart, on lap 19, Raikkonen aqua-planed on the main straight and slammed the wall in front of the pits as cars whizzed past him through the spray, far too close for comfort.

Vettel told his team over the radio, “This is just bad, just stupid. Red flag is what it needs, we need to stop the race. How many people do they want to crash, I nearly crashed into Kimi in the middle of the straight, I couldn’t see anything.”

Race director Charlie Whiting, obviously agreed and red flagged proceedings.

Ricciardo told BBC shortly after the first stoppage, “To be honest, the thing that was holding me back more than anything was the visibility as these new surfaces hold the water. I was sixth and I couldn’t see anything. The track was not draining the water very well.”

The field returned top the track about twenty minutes later, behind the safety car again. After a number of laps drivers started calling for the race to restart but race control opted to red flag it again on lap 29, citing a river of water running across the track as the reason.

The crowd erupted in boos and mass thumbs down prevailed in the grand stands.

Hamilton was not impressed, “The track is fine. It’s not even that wet now. I don’t now why we’re stopping. We should be racing, Charlie. The longer we wait, the longer more rain comes down.”

Should the grand prix not go beyond 75% race distance, 53 laps, then half points will be awarded.

Report in progress…

Standings after 21 laps

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