Several F1 drivers were baffled by the presence of a recovery vehicle on the track at Istanbul Park at the start of Saturday’s Q2 qualifying segment.

The crane was deployed at the fast Turn 8 left-hander at the end of Q1 following an off-track excursion of Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.

But the vehicle was still located in the corner’s run-off area at the start of Q2, much to many drivers’ surprise, although the area was put under double-waved yellow flags.

“That wasn’t very good,” admitted Red Bull’s Alex Albon. “I imagine that we were trying to make sunset. And we rushed everything. But that was silly.

“I’m sure we could have waited another five minutes for a crane to move.

“I think there must have been some misjudgement between them because there’s no way they did it on purpose.

“It was just hard to understand where the decision came from, because the crane was still on track, lifting Latifi, and we got the call out to go on to the track and wait at the end of the pitlane.”

The scene inevitably brought about memories of the late Jules Bianchi’s horrendous accident at the Japanese GP in 2014, when the Marussia driver veered off course in the wet and collided with a mobile crane which was in the process of removing Adrian Sutil’s Sauber.

“I remember my engineer, I think he saw it on the TV and he said there’s still a yellow for Latifi,” said Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

“To be honest, I was so intensely focused on the session it didn’t cross my mind at the time but you have just reminded me of it.

“With that knowledge, I’m quite surprised there was a green,” added the Aussie.

“I don’t know what the rush was, I guess they were worried about light but I don’t think that should be happening. I’m quite surprised with that.”

FIA race director Michael Masi said that race control had been informed that the crane was being evacuated and would be on the escape road by the time the cars reached the corner. However, a delay meant that this was not the case.

“As soon as it became apparent that the recovery vehicle had been delayed in moving completely into the barrier opening, we extended the area of double-waved yellow flags from Turn 8 to the entry point of Turn 7 to further slow down the cars on their out laps,” Masi said.

“Clearly this is not a scenario we want to see, and with the benefit of hindsight we would have done it differently and held the cars until the recovery was completed.

“We will review our procedures to minimise the likelihood of similar incidents in future.”

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Source: Formula 1 – F1I