George Russell says running behind the Safety Car on stone cold tyres in the Las Vegas GP was a “really dangerous” situation.
The race was neutralized as soon as the second lap when Lando Norris lost control of his car as he was running through Turn 11, the McLaren shedding debris and coming to a rest in the run-off area of Turn 12.
As the field lined up behind the Safety Car, tyre temperatures plunged which, coupled with the track’s low grip level, led to a tricky situation for many drivers, including Russell.
“It was really dangerous under the Safety Car,” said the Mercedes charger.
“The tyres were rock-solid and they were colder than you’d experience in the rain, really. So that was to be expected here, in these conditions.”
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who had spun at the start of the race upon his entry into Turn 1, echoed Russell’s view.
“At Turn 1 on the Safety Car restart was like driving on ice,” explained the Spaniard. “We need to find a solution, I think, to make the Safety Car a bit quicker in these certain scenarios.
“I cannot explain how it feels to go 340 [kph] and know that when you’re going to hit the brake, that thing is not going to stop. It was very tricky.”
During the race’s early neutralization, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly buzzed his team to tell them that “it’s going to be a chaos if they don’t increase the pace”.
The field was spared any further drama, but Gasly believes F1 should tweak the timing of its Las Vegas event in the future, especially as next year’s race is positioned two weeks later on F1’s 2024 calendar.
“It was quite sketchy with this temperature,” said Gasly. “So if we can see a bit of sunlight in the next few years, that will not be a bad thing.
“The restarts and the Safety Car were a bit tricky. But you need a first time and I’m sure we learn from what we’ve seen this year.”