FIA justifies lengthy Italian GP safety car period

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The FIA says the marshals' inability to roll Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren out of harm's way in the Italian Grand Prix complicated the car's evacuation procedure and prolonged the race's safety car period to the checkered flag.

Ricciardo was left stranded on the side of the track between Monza's two Lesmo corners following an engine failure, with eight laps to go.

The stoppage logically triggered a safety car, with Max Verstappen comfortably leading the race from Charles Leclerc.

However, the McLaren could not be put in neutral by the marshals who were therefore unable to push the car behind the barriers.
As the laps ticked off and the leaders pitted for fresh tyres to prepare for a final mad dash, a crane was brought in to evacuate the McLaren.

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Unfortunately, the SC procedure lasted until the checkered flag, much to the disappointment of the fans but also of Red Bull's Christian Horner who was convinced that there "was enough time to get that race going".

The FIA explained why the safety car period ran until the end of the race.

"While every effort was made to recover Car #3 quickly and resume racing, the situation developed and marshals were unable to put the car into neutral and push it into the escape road," read a statement from the governing body.

"As the safety of the recovery operation is our only priority, and the incident was not significant enough to require a red flag, the race ended under safety car following the procedures agreed between the FIA and all Competitors.

"The timing of the safety car period within a race has no bearing on this procedure."

Leclerc reckoned that he fate as the race's runner-up had been sealed earlier in the day, and not because of the prolonged safety car period.

"I wish we could have ended up racing, but unfortunately we were second at that place, because of what happened before," he said.

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