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Vettel, Szafnauer surprised by restart decision

Sebastian Vettel at the Emilia Romagna GP. Credits: Aston Martin Racing (Twitter).

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel admitted he had been surprised by the decision to have a rolling restart in Imola.

The 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was red-flagged due to a monumental shunt involving Williams driver George Russell and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas at the Tamburello chicane. In previous race suspensions, we have seen the race restart as a standing start. This time, however, it was a rolling restart, something which puzzled Sebastian Vettel and Otmar Szafnauer of Aston Martin.

“With the red flag we tried to start on a softer tire, but there was a rolling start which we didn’t expect, and then we had a higher degradation on the soft than others on the medium,” Vettel said.

Szafnauer echoed the German’s comments, saying: “We anticipated a standing start again, but then we were told it was a rolling start quite late. All the teams were given the information at the same time and it was quite late that we were told that it was a rolling start.”

F1 race director Michael Masi said race direction followed the rulebook in terms of the restart procedure surrounding whether it should be a standing or rolling start.

“Generally we can post either a standing start or a rolling start once the cars have actually left pit lane, and so on this occasion, we did it at I think it was about turn seven – there or thereabouts. The Safety Car lights went out and the ‘RS’ [rolling start] went up on the screens, which is the procedure as stipulated in the regulations.”

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