Sebastian Vettel believes “it’s a bit of a joke” for Formula 1 to award half-points for a Belgian Grand Prix that didn’t feature a single racing lap.
Following a delay of well over two hours after a suspended start, the F1 field circulated behind the safety car for two complete laps – some three hours after the initial race start time.
The race was then red-flagged, satisfying the requirements for half points to be awarded to the top 10 finishers.
It allowed Max Verstappen to eat into Lewis Hamilton’s championship lead with his sixth victory of the season and handed George Russell his maiden F1 podium for Williams.
Sebastian Vettel was also able to aid Aston Martin’s pursuit of Alpine and AlphaTauri in the constructors’ championship with a fifth-place finish.
But the four-time world champion was in no mood for celebration after the race, branding it a “joke” that points were awarded.
“It’s a bit of a joke, no? That’s a joke,” he said after the race.
“If you want to get a reward for qualifying, you should get points for qualifying.
“What did we do today [to earn the points]? I don’t know.”
However, Vettel supported the decision from the stewards to stop the race due to the poor visibility and worsening conditions.
“I was in P5 and I struggled to see,” Vettel added.
“I had to really make sure I don’t miss where Daniel [Ricciardo in P4] was.
“You see the [rain] light very late, a lot of spray. I presume further back it just got worse.
“There was more rain coming when we went out, could feel that as well.
“I think the priority is always that we’re safe, tough decisions today, not easy hanging in there for that long and letting the people wait. But probably the right decision, it was getting darker.”
Pierre Gasly finished just behind Vettel in sixth place but felt he didn’t deserve the four points he earned from that.
“I don’t feel like I deserved any points today for what I’ve done,” Gasly said.
“I just followed the safety car. I didn’t crash in the laps to the grid, but that’s the only thing I’ve done today.
“But at the end of the day this is not really the point – I feel really bad for all the people that came here, travelled, waited hours under the rain to watch an F1 race, and the only thing they got to see is a couple of laps from the safety car and F1 cars following.
“Really sorry for all those people and yeah, unfortunately, I don’t think there was any other option possible because the visibility was so bad in the pack.
“We know the consequences if a car gets t-boned. Unfortunately, I don’t think there was any other option.
“I’m a bit surprised, to be fair, because I just feel they just put us out on track in the worst conditions just to allow these points to happen.”
Gasly’s remark echoed the sentiments expressed by Hamilton, who likewise questioned the motivation behind the safety car laps, although race director Michael Masi has maintained there was a genuine belief the race could get underway.