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F1 denies two-lap Baku restart only for 'show'

F1 denies two-lap Baku restart only for 'show'
© Reuters
F1 race director Michael Masi has denied that Sunday's race at Azerbaijan was only restarted for 'the show'.

F1 race director Michael Masi has denied that Sunday's race at Azerbaijan was only restarted for 'the show'.

"The Americans took over so I wasn't really surprised that the first thing is the entertainment," said Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly, referring to Formula 1's owners since 2017, Liberty Media.

At Baku, the race was red-flagged to clear the debris and check the condition of the tyres after Max Verstappen's sudden tyre blowout.

After a long delay, the race was re-started from a standing start - with just two laps to go.

Gasly, though, said he supports the decision.

"I must admit it was very intense but I really enjoyed it. If anything, hopefully in the future they will do the same," said the Frenchman.

Sergio Perez agrees, but only if the decision to re-start red-flagged races is "consistent".

"It certainly helps the fans to be sticking to the TV," said the Baku winner.

But Sebastian Vettel thinks "more and more" decisions are being made in F1 for the 'show' factor alone.

"I just think we need to watch out that it doesn't become too artificial and we don't lose the roots of the sport," said the quadruple world champion.

But even from the purist's perspective, McLaren boss Andreas Seidl says the decision to re-start was correct.

"It doesn't matter if there are 2, 10 or 20 laps to go, restarting is normally quite safe and we certainly saw two interesting laps," he said.

"Even the standing re-start was the right decision, also in terms of entertainment. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone changed tyres so I don't see that there was any safety risk," said Seidl.

Finally, when asked if Formula 1 was trading safety for entertainment with 2-lap restarted races, F1 race director Michael Masi rejected the charge.

"There is nothing in the regulations stipulating that a race cannot be restarted if circumstances permit," he said. "And I saw no reason to end it with the red flag."

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ChinaChina18101139
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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