Lewis Hamilton said Belgian Grand Prix fans should get their money back after they waited hours in the cold and wet without seeing a competitive lap in the shortest race in Formula One history.
The wet race at Spa-Francorchamps was abandoned after the field, circulating behind the safety car, completed the two laps necessary for half-points to be awarded.
“Money talks and the two laps to start the race is all a money scenario,” seven times world champion Hamilton, who finished third for Mercedes, told Sky Sports after the podium ceremonies.
“So everyone gets their money and I think the fans should get theirs back too. Because unfortunately they didn’t get to see what they paid for.”
The Briton said he was really disappointed for the crowd but the conditions were impossible for racing.
“Obviously we can’t control the weather, and I love racing in the rain, but today was something else,” he added. “You really couldn’t see the car ahead, there was aquaplaning, it was unfortunately just a disaster on track.
“But the fans stayed out in the rain. They still had energy, they still created the atmosphere but they were robbed of a race today. I think they deserve their money back.”
Hamilton continued to vent on Sunday evening, posting a message to Instagram saying: “Today was a farce and the only people to lose out are the fans who have paid good money to watch us race.
“Of course you can’t do anything about the weather but we have sophisticated equipment to tell us what’s going on and it was clear the weather wasn’t going to let up.
“We were sent out for one reason and one reason only. Two laps behind a safety car where there is no possibility to gain or lose a place or provide entertainment to fans isn’t racing. We should have just called it quits, not risked the drivers and most importantly refunded the fans who are the heart of our sport.”
However, both F1 and the FIA claimed commercial agreements were not a factor in deciding how many laps were run behind the safety car.
“Two laps or zero laps, it doesn’t make a difference in that respect,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said.
“That’s why when I hear there were commercial discussions behind [the scenes], that’s totally not true. When we are talking about racing there is a responsibility and a clear process.
“These things are not connected at all.”
Domenicali added that the fans who attended the Belgian Grand Prix, who bought their tickets through the Spa-Francorchamps circuit and not F1, would be a “matter of attention” in the coming weeks.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said everyone had reasons to be upset.
“It is what it is. I guess you need to take this one on the chin and close the chapter on this race and move on,” said the Austrian.
“We must really applaud the fans that have been there for three days in the rain, they have waited for a race to happen.”
With no overtaking possible, pole sitter Max Verstappen was declared the winner for Red Bull ahead of Williams driver George Russell. Hamilton’s overall lead was whittled down to three points from eight.
The race was abandoned at 1844 local time, three hours, 44 minutes after it was supposed to start.
Verstappen, who receives plenty of support at Spa from his army of Dutch fans making the short trip across the border to Belgium, also sympathised with the fans.
“I think for today the credit goes to all the fans around the track to stay here the whole day in the rain, in the cold, in the windy conditions, so I think they are actually the bigger winners today,” he said.