Leclerc: Late safety car deployment in Baku 'a joke'

© XPB 

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc branded as "a joke" the late deployment of the safety car following Max Verstappen's crash in Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Dutchman hit the wall at full speed on the main straight after suffering a tyre failure while leading the race in its closing stages.

As the track was littered in debris, double-waved yellow flags were brandished but the safety car sprang into action approximately a minute and a half – or almost a full lap – after the incident.

Immediately after passing Verstappen's crash site for the first time, Leclerc was informed by his race engineer over the radio that drivers were still racing.

"That’s a joke, that’s a joke," responded Leclerc. "Put the fucking safety car out straight away, why are they waiting?"

After the race, Leclerc admitted to being surprised by the late safety car call by race control.

"For me it was clear that I would stop pushing with a crash like this, it’s in the middle of the straight so it was quite dangerous," commented the Ferrari charger.

"It just took longer than what I expected. That’s it. But I think all the drivers have been surprised the same way."

Leclerc said he intended put the safety car issue on the table at next week's drivers' briefing in France with FIA race director Michael Masi.

"The safety car thing I will definitely bring up [at the drivers’ briefing in France] just to understand why it took a bit longer than normally. That will be a point I raise."

Leclerc's Scuderia teammate Carlos Sainz was also troubled by the belated safety car call.

"Normally when there is such a big accident, first there is a double yellow, and then straightaway seconds after there is a safety car," said the Spaniard.

"Today, it took, I think it was 30 seconds, one minute, for the safety car to be deployed, and we had to go through a very heavy accident in only yellow flag conditions."

GPDA director Sebastian Vettel echoed his colleague's concerns.

"I was wondering a little bit why it took so long when Max had the shunt, for the safety car to come out," Vettel said.

"It was quite clear that he was standing in the middle of the track and it took a little bit long but we will see. We will find out why."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter