LEWIS

Lewis Hamilton said the safety car finish at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday brought back painful memories of how he lost the Formula One championship last season.

Max Verstappen won his fifth race on the bounce at Monza to take his drivers’ championship lead to 116 points but the final six laps were not contested after Daniel Ricciardo lost his engine and was left stranded at the side of the track.

Last year’s title was won by Verstappen when the race was restarted with one lap remaining and the Red Bull driver overtook Hamilton in a controversial finish.

“It always brings back memories; that is the rule, right?” Hamilton told Sky Sport in Italy.

“There’s only one time in the history of the sport where they haven’t done the rules like that today, and that’s the one where it changed the result of the championship,” Hamilton, who finished fifth on Sunday, added.

When the cars crossed the line in Monza, a large crowd of Ferrari fans chanted their displeasure.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto claimed that the governing body FIA had “fallen asleep” because Ricciardo’s car was not moved in time for Charles Leclerc to pursue Verstappen.

However, after the race, Leclerc stated that catching Verstappen, who had controlled the race and was comfortably in the lead when the safety car was deployed, would have been “very, very difficult.”


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