Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly gave mixed reviews over the “exciting” but ‘entertainment-driven’ finale to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Vettel warning F1’s American owners against making racing “too artificial".
The 51-lap race was turned into a two-lap sprint after Max Verstappen’s crash caused a race stoppage and FIA race director Michael Masi opted not to call time on the proceedings early.
Vettel and Gasly both benefitted from Lewis Hamilton’s first-corner demise to claim podium spots and Gasly quipped: “The Americans took over so I wasn’t really surprised that we go first with the entertainment.”
The French driver, who finished third for AlphaTauri, added: “I was quite happy. It always brings a bit more excitement. I don’t know, it creates some sort of adrenalin inside you.
“Everybody is a bit like lions out of the cage and everybody goes for everything and tries to make up as many positions as they can in a very short time. It was very intense. I really enjoyed it. Hopefully in the future they will do the same.”
Aston Martin driver Vettel, who finished second, was not so sure.
He added: “It has become more and more like this in the past, more and more focused on creating a show, so I hope that in the future the races are more exciting.
“I think today was probably an exciting race for various things happening, but yeah, I think we just need to watch out that it doesn’t become too artificial and we don’t lose the roots of the sport.”
Gasly thrilled by wheel-to-wheel action
The restart made it tough for Gasly, who had to fend off the feisty Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and lost his podium place before cunningly re-passing his rival in a dramatic battle.
Gasly said: “I must say I really enjoyed the battle. It was intense racing, really hard racing but fair racing as well. I knew in the last two laps, whatever I would do, Charles behind would pass me in the straight.
“That’s what happened. [I] just got back in the tow and went for it in Turn One, he came back at me in Turn Three and yeah, I had to brake very late. I really wanted that podium. I took some big risks but it was clearly worth it.”
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