Formula one drivers backed the controversial decision to start Sunday's Chinese grand prix behind the safety car.

Formula one drivers backed the controversial decision to start Sunday's Chinese grand prix behind the safety car.

For most spectators, the start of a race is arguably the most exciting element of a grand prix weekend.

In the Shanghai rain, however, not only was the start called off, the race then fell into an eight-lap monotony of slow driving behind the safety car.

But podium sitter Mark Webber said FIA race director Charlie Whiting's decision was spot on.

"I think we've seen the safety car work quite well on releasing the field in a much more controlled fashion," the GPDA director said.

The Red Bull driver recalled Spa 1998, when an aquaplaning car triggered the biggest start-line crash in F1's history.

"Now we have different methods to maybe make the race a bit safer to start," said Webber.

He also urged circuit officials to improve water drainage ahead of the next race in China.

"I must say, an incredibly challenging grand prix for the drivers and one that was right on the limit for safety," said the 32-year-old.

The only rookie in the field, Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi, backed Webber's stance, while Sebastien Bourdais told the media he does not believe the race should have gone ahead at all.

"To try to start the race normally in those kinds of conditions could have led to a disaster," Buemi told the Swiss newspaper Blick.

 

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