Sebastian Vettel pointed a finger at the race director after retiring from Sunday’s European grand prix.
The Red Bull driver suffered a car failure having dominated from pole in Valencia. He questioned the call to bring the safety car out, ostensibly to clear away crash debris.
“I think we could have been spared the safety car period,” Vettel told German television Sky. “I think the reason is clear. I don’t think there was a danger. There were pieces on the track earlier and it was acceptable.
“I think in a sense the safety car was to break our neck,” said the 24-year-old German, who at the time of the call was approaching 40 seconds ahead of Romain Grosjean.
Vettel thinks the safety car period also contributed to his car failure.
“It’s not exactly clear,” he said. “Perhaps a combination of the safety car period when you have to drive slowly, and a similar problem that Mark had on Friday. “It just went to sh**,” Vettel shrugged. “I think it was clear to see that (until then) we were pulling away without problems.
“I think the important that is that we have shown that we can be really fast, as we made a step forward this weekend.”
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, was keeping his temper under control after being punted out of the race by Pastor Maldonado.
In the cockpit, he slammed his steering wheel before throwing it against the barrier, but when flanked by press officers the McLaren driver told British Sky television he would “suck it up”.
And on the BBC, the Briton said “That’s life. You have to deal with it.”