Alfa Romeo Sauber’s Charles Leclerc has spoken out against the use of blue flags in last fortnight’s Singapore Grand Prix, saying “we just need to fix this issue for next year.”
Blue flags were a talking point after the race, as the race leaders had trouble lapping slower competitors on the tight and twisty street circuit.
“I think if it’s done well, it’s the right thing to have in Formula One but then in Singapore, it was a bit of a mess,” Leclerc said during the Thursday press conference for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
In Singapore, Max Verstappen took 1.3 seconds out of Lewis Hamilton’s race lead in a single sector as the latter caught backmarker traffic.
“If you’re lucky you catch the cars at the right point,” Hamilton said after winning in Singapore
“If it’s done properly I think it should stay but we just need to fix this issue for next year in Singapore,” Leclerc said.
Haas driver Romain Grosjean was handed a 5-second time penalty for holding Hamilton up in Singapore. He
FIA’s race director Charlie Whiting told Autosport that Grosjean’s incident was “one of the worst cases” of ignoring blue flags.
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On Thursday in Sochi, Grosjean’s Team Principal Guenther Steiner said the Verstappen and Hamilton situation would’ve produced better
“We would have had more action by scrapping the rule which only advantages the guy who is first anyway,” Steiner said to Autosport.
Blue flags also drew criticism in Singapore because faster cars, such as Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, were unable to get within the 1.2-second threshold laid out in the rules.
“Sometimes this new 1.2s rule is good and sometimes it’s a bit tricky to get close enough to trigger the blue flags,” Bottas said during Thursday’s press conference.
“Sometimes you get more luck with it, sometimes more unlucky and that’s how it goes,” Bottas said.
Leclerc’s Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson said the rules around blue flags are ” just part of the sport” and described the current system as the “best solution”.
“It’s never going to be perfect,” Bottas and Ericsson both admitted.
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