Start, Yas Marina, 2021

Rate the race: 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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What did you think of today’s race? Share your verdict on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

RaceFans has held polls on every F1 race since 2008 to find out which fans thought of each round of the season.

Join in the latest poll and give your verdict on the race: 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest. Please vote based on how entertaining and exciting you thought the race was, not on how your preferred driver or team performed.

What were the best and worst moments of the race? What was the main thing you’ll remember about it? Rate the race out of ten and leave a comment below:

Rate the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix out of 10

  • 10 (33%)
  • 9 (11%)
  • 8 (8%)
  • 7 (8%)
  • 6 (4%)
  • 5 (2%)
  • 4 (2%)
  • 3 (2%)
  • 2 (3%)
  • 1 (27%)

Total Voters: 322

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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141 comments on “Rate the race: 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix”

  1. FIA to the help once again!

    1. You are right! Not investigating the first lap incident was a farse!

      1. The first lap incident was irrelevant, Max knew his only chance against Lewis was to try and take him out. If Lewis had given the position up, he would have been by him in no time on sheer pace, or kamikaze Max predictably would have taken him out.

  2. Pathetic. Just give RedBull the title.

    1. The FIA are so corrupt, I’m surprised they didn’t ask Hamilton to park the car and let Verstappen pass. What has happened to Sport? First FIFA and now the FIA. Sky commentary was a disgrace, biased all season, everyone except DAMON HILL he was the only one worth listening too


    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 14:42

      Safety cars, luck and race control did all of that. max had neither the pace nor the car. But sometimes the racing gods shine.

    2. This post is so embarrassing

    3. Nice considered post. I think I now know what RandomMallard meant when he closed his account.

    4. Classy till the end

    5. I found Lewis driving very well but was unluckly with the safetycar. Over the whole season i give it to Max. Just a luckly win compared to Baku..

    6. You are just prejudiced.

      Russian poll is 85% positive with 32000 votes.

  4. Formula One is not a sport anymore. It’s like watching WWE.

    1. Sadly it felt a lot like that today. If you’re going to mess with the procedure, you might as well just red flag it immediately. It felt very manufactured

      1. The whole year has been. Yet RedBull celebrations like it wasn’t handed to them on a plate

        1. You are maybe forgetting the points verstappen lost through bad luck. I can tell you, this 14-15 points swing is not enough to say verstappen got luckier than hamilton. Mercedes got the constructor’s, which is fair given better car and number 2.

    2. now max will feel vindicated and he will never learn respect for other racers. he does not deserve the title and does race fairly

    3. F1 was never a sport. If it were, Hamilton might have only won 1 WDC.

      1. @amian
        And by Hamilton, of course you mean Schumacher.

      2. Absolutely, and he drove well today, but he also had a significantly stronger car, like the last races after mexico.

  5. That’s it. 27 years watching stops here. Enjoy fixed races.

    1. That’s how I felt. I’m really exceited by next year’s car but at the same car really dissapointed by the way the sport is being regulated and managed

    2. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 14:42

      Don’t over react. max has a long way to go until he proves he is as good as HAM.

      1. @timeslides I have been feeling like this for the last couple of races. At least I would like the procedures, and probably people in charge, to be reviewed. Now, we have a Race director who decided the championship.

        1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          12th December 2021, 14:51

          This is true. and if this is the way it’s going to go from now on, with commercial interests at the fore, max will never achieve LH greatness.

      2. Not sure, he beat the best Lewis ever (Lewis words)

        1. Not only Lewis words Max said it also that Lewis was the greatest. I have problems rating this race it was boring with some positive points. maybe a 5 i think. But race control real sucks they need more people there 1 man is not enough.

      3. He already have. Winning a wdc with a 2nd fastest car is something lewis has never done. Dont bring in 2008 as heikki was just horrible.

    3. I’m not even a Hamilton fan and I just thought the same thing… been watching since Villeneuve, Senna, and Prost but after this I have genuinely no interest in the racing. I’ll probably just stick to watching engineering analysis vids of the new cars next year as they look awesome but no point following a title race which seems to have a largely pre-determined outcome…

    4. Me too. 1994- 2021. Switch to WEC, as I should long time ago

    5. Absolutely. Truly ridiculous result after such a lead, to be handed the Championship like this. Verstappen will have zero credibility from this day on. Formula 1 Champion comes down to a drag race on new sticky tyres for one lap, minus the back markers. What utter nonsense. You could barely make this up.

    6. if i had to decide to stop on 1 race i would stopped in the nineties Senna and Schumacher era when Bernie decided on stupid ideas and steward decicions. Just relax and watch the tests then decide.

  6. Cry Hamiltoners, cry.

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 14:44

      The max fans get everything they ever wanted, and they are still angry… get a life mate :-)
      Still the 7 x world champ. Read it an weeeeeep…. ;-)

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        12th December 2021, 14:52

        Just don’t reply to that. nothing to gain here

        1. He (max) did not win this race he was gifted it .

  7. A decent race itself, but a fixed ending.

    1. Disappointed I can understand that. Just like I was after the unbelievable non action on Lewis gained advantage off track.
      But it ended racing and the best strategy won.

  8. Incredible and then Red Bull keep pretending is against them while every time Verstappen was let of easy for his dirty driving. But then probably this is why they keep pushing that propaganda, just so when a decision needs to be made they could influence it even more in their favor.

    1. @f1osaurus
      What about Hamilton cutting the corner and being even investigated. Alonso was handed a drive through penalty in Silverstone 2010 for doing the same thing which actually compromised his championship.

      1. That’s in line with the general inconsistency the stewards have been showing over the season. Unfortunately the safety car decision was against the actual written rules, very different.

    2. now max will feel vindicated and he will never learn respect for other racers. he does not deserve the title and does race fairly

      1. Respect is something you must earn.
        Lewis got respect by max and vice versa..

  9. I feel flat. It’s usually great to see a new champion crowned but it doesn’t feel right. It seemed the race came down to which team principal lobbied Masi the best. How can you announce a decision surrounding the safety car procedure and then reverse it cause a team pleads their case? Toto can’t talk, cause he did exactly the same thing earlier!

  10. Fixed, new champion, new F1, New subscriptions availible now, just about to delete my account and take a long break away from Formula Farce

    1. In case this was an actual account (don’t remember it but looks very likely due to the “@”), at least we can see that once deleted the comments stay, just as unregistered user.

  11. Nothing fixed about it. Merc could have pitted then overtaken Max with the fresher tyres at the end. They didn’t want to take the risk and paid the price. That’s racing, in the best possible way.


    1. @skipgamer
      How often are some (but not all) of the lapped cars allowed to overtake SC?

      1. Doesn’t matter, the important cars were out of the way. It would have been a bigger stretch of the rules not to let them get out of the way.

        Merc are clutching at straws, they wanted it decided with racing, it was decided with racing.

        1. @skipgamer
          Important cars – you mean, the ones blocking Verstappen’s championship? I believe other drivers and teams would’ve regarded other lapped cars important also.

          1. The only argument is that not all cars were allowed to overtake, which is baffling, however letting lapped cars overtake IS the standard procedure. There is no reason to NOT let them overtake unless it’s unsafe to do so, which is usually only during wet conditions.

            There is no real argument here. Yes, Max got lucky, but Lewis got lucky in other races too. The luck cancels out, and Max is the champion

          2. @smartez
            I agree that the normal procedure is to let all overlapped cars overtake. However, there wasn’t time for that. The race control probably denied it, so that there would be time for another racing lap. But in the end, they made a decision that benefited Max even more.

          3. @hotbottoms

            And what if Mercedes decided to pit and put on the fresh rubber, and Max was P1 and Hamilton had the lapped cars infront of him? Would you still be saying it’s unfair to let the cars through or would you be saying it’s unfair that Hamilton had all the traffic put infront of him?

            It was a gamble Mercedes made, and they lost. The decision could have gone either way, there was no predicting it.

            If anything I think the fairest solution would have been a red flag for them both to put on fresh rubber and start 1-2. But racing isn’t always fair…

          4. @skipgamer
            Yes, I think the stewards and the race control should follow the rules. I’m not a Hamilton fan, even though I would’ve preferred him to win the championship.

            And yes, I agree with you that red flagging would’ve been a more fair solution.

        2. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          12th December 2021, 14:46

          The ones required to had the real chance of victory to Max? I can’t say I gree or disagree, it is what it is, but it seems like it was done for the show and little else.
          All the RB claims for conspiracy and fixes all sound rather hollow.

      2. Because masi botched it by first not allowing lapped cars to overtake, which is against the rules afaik. This wasted the time, so they had to get back to this half baked solution.

    2. Question is whether the FIA then wouldn’t have ended the race behind the safety car?

      1. @Emma

        They never would have wanted to do that if they had a chance to end the race under green conditions.

  12. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    12th December 2021, 14:40

    Took half a lap to become a political scrap. Then got very boring until Latifi crashed, despite Perez’s best efforts. The finish feels almost scripted. RB’s tactics won them the championships. Otherwise, the end was just messy.

  13. The mantra all year for not giving Max penalties has been ‘We don’t want the stewards to decide the championship’ but in the end they couldn’t help themselves and gifted Max the championship.

  14. So the race was fixed because Mercedes had a terrible strategy. OK. British empire has died long time ago. Stop beliebing you are the center of the world

    1. Red Bull and Horner are both effectively British. Mercedes is German. You see what I did there or did you miss it? Not everything is biased.
      Starting to think like a randommallard to be honest. Is this the standard of comment were going to get on racefans nowadays?

  15. This is the BULLY Year…
    First don’t let lapped cars pass safety car, then let lapped cars pass… new tires x old tires… Shameful…

  16. petebaldwin (@)
    12th December 2021, 14:41

    The race was probably a 5/10.

    The last lap was… I don’t even know how you rate that.

    The comments on this site this evening though will definitely be 10/10 :D

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      12th December 2021, 14:58

      Politics, a debateable decision on lap 1, inconsistent and messy application of (SC) rules, a pair of controversial championship contestants, last lap changes.

      This race has something for everyone to be mad about

  17. I’m a neutral. I didn’t care who won or who loses because I just enjoy the racing & love the sport. I’d have been happy today regardless of who won the championship.

    But for me the end of that race & the deciding factor in the championship was really unsatisfying & rather than coming away been super thrilled or whatever I just feel really deflated somehow.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      12th December 2021, 14:59

      But for me the end of that race & the deciding factor in the championship was really unsatisfying & rather than coming away been super thrilled or whatever I just feel really deflated somehow.

      I do prefer Verstappen over Hamilton, but yeah, this^
      A Messy end to an increasingly messy championship

  18. Lapped cars are allowed to overtake is the standard procedure. Yes, it was lucky for Max, but Lewis has also been lucky at other races.

    This race really wasn’t controversial. Safety car came out because it had to, they cleared the crash, they let the lapped cars overtake, this didn’t have to wait for them to catch the pack (This has been the procedure since 2016), then the race restarted.

    For the race itself? Eh. Apart from the end, it was like a 4, the end gave it maybe an 7, so 5 seems fair

    1. Lapped cars are allowed to overtake is the standard procedure

      Yeah, ALL of them. Not just a selected few.

      1. Yes, this is only thing that makes it baffling, and the only argument to make. Otherwise, it doesn’t change anything.

      2. @kuvemar

        Sure, but the only ones that can legitimately complain about that are those other teams that didn’t get to unlap. Mercedes just wanted to run out the clock under the SC, rather than race. Having Max just behind Lewis for the restart was fair in itself.

  19. Wow that was intense throughout till the last lap

  20. 5

    No race is good enough if #44 survives it

    And Max still cannot master the trick. Max, you need a nice concrete wall, or in ists absence, some Chinese gravel

  21. Blaize Falconberger (@)
    12th December 2021, 14:47

    LH, what a sportsman. First thing he does is congratulate Max and RB.
    The Max mob could learn a thing or two about real class…

    1. First thing he did was sit in the car in silence in parc fermé for 5 minutes

      1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
        12th December 2021, 15:19

        Well, if we’re gojng to be sill, he also got out of the car and breathed in and out. Du’h.
        By anyway, I agree with you. Hamilton was calm and collected. A true man of virtue.

        1. @timeslides Lewis showed incredible composure today. I think talking to his father helped.

          He’s an amazing champion. I think even the best would have crumbled today. It was robbery and Lewis showed his class while the thief and his team of brigands were celebrating.

    2. A pity that after that his team filed two protests and he did not stop them.
      I Don’t blame him, but it does shed a different light on his wonderful sportsmanship on the podium.

  22. Less of a race, more of a stitchup.

  23. I rate this season overwritten.

  24. Thank you, FIA, for destroying the sport I’ve loved for decades. To top it of with the horrible decision is a disgrace! Next year you can just hand the trophy to whomever you decide to win in March…

  25. I think this result will be overturned…a farce…I just wanted a fair and level playing field…but complete safety car shambles

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 15:20

      No one would win in that situation. It would only cause more damage.

    2. Problem with that is the problems were by race control – how do you penalise a driver for a race control issue. RB just capitalised on this, they also took the bigger risks I. The race which put them in this position.

      1. @captainpie there’s definitely something off between Masi and Red Bull. Toto’s pleas are because he knows that they are in control and they would do something like that. He wasn’t wrong.

        Horner literally said “All we need [to win] is 1 lap” and Masi immediately gave it to them and cleared the path by changing his mind.

  26. I think it’s okay that they allowed some cars to unlap so they could have a final lap of racing rather than the title decider ending under a safety car. Mercedes could have pitted (Lewis wanted to) but they decided they would rather have the track position.

    Lewis should have won but checo’s defense, good strategy and a bit of luck turned the table and Max becomes the only non-Mercedes champion of the Mercedes era.

  27. Marinated Monolith (@)
    12th December 2021, 14:59

    Despite knowing that the FIA’s decision-making has been questionable all season, why oh why, would the Mercedes gamble their race on the FIA? Never since Ferrari’s Abu Dhabi fiasco in 2010 have I seen a team shooting themselves in the foot harder than tonight.

    For what it’s worth, I truly believe that Hamilton has been the better, but not the faster, driver this season. But I honestly couldn’t fault Max and the Red Bulls for grabbing the champhionship the way he did today.
    Hopefully, Max could mature a bit after this season, I’ve lost hope on the FIA growing a backbone.

    1. I think the analysis they would have conducted was probably based on the options the stewards could take under the framework of precedence and more importantly, rules.
      Difficult to plan for scenarios involving new rules being invented on the fly…

    2. @marinatedmonolith

      Lewis has made more and bigger mistakes this season, which would have had enormous impacts on the points gained, if he hadn’t been so lucky. Driving-wise, there was little between them.

      Ultimately, a championship-battle is about collecting points and without the luck factor, Max would have had a substantial gap over Lewis. So Max was the better driver, IMO. The worst driver was Masi & the stewards.

      1. @aapje I think Red Bull’s car was class of the field this championship as Newey said. The fact that Lewis was in contention was because he was in a world of his own, in terms of skill as we witnessed today.

        Perhaps Max is the 2nd best driver in F1 in terms of speed but it means nothing because the gap is as large as that between Messi and Masi.

        As for wheel-to-wheel racing Lewis gets a 12 out of 10 this season (way better than any other driver will ever drive this century). Max would be lucky to get a passing grade with 6 being the cutoff – he’d only get that because he’s in F1.

        As for the championship, I put Max Verstappen on the same pedestal as Lance Armstrong. He fully deserves this championship as much as Lance did. Some would argue that Lance was more deserving than Max – very few would argue that Max was more deserving than Lance.

  28. So it seems the most popular opinion on this site is that the race should have ended under the safety car?

    1. For me @ryanoceros, two or three laps earlier but then w/o cars having time to overtake; three laps would likely have allowed them to let VER past and with better tyres get his move in, quite possibly still win it. Would it have been disadvantage VER? With only two laps, sure, but certainly not more than this was the other way around with no way for HAM to even counter (even if he had had the tyres somehow then).

      But, first thinking not safe to do that, then last minute going yeah well, only cars between HAM and VER and then we have a ‘race’ for 1 lap was off, though to be fair, rather typical of how making-it-up-as-we-go this year’s race director has seemed.

    2. Optimum scenario would have been a celeb, fully unaware of what they are doing, waving the flag one lap early. This way Masi’s flip-flopping some-lapped-cars-may-overtake decision would have still been part of the broadcast, but an extra-layer of entertainment would have been added to the F1-winter-discourse.

  29. 7/10
    First of all, very happy to see Sainz on podium. Would have loved to have Perez on the podium given how much of a team player he has been this weekend. But the stewarding felt forced. Farewell to Kimi, would have been great if he saw the chequered flag.

  30. Exactly what I feared. Difficult to watch any sporting competition end in such confusion and acrimony. Very deep and lingering feeling of unfairness surrounding the result. This year has been tainted by some of the worst officiating I’ve ever seen in any sport. Need a good winter break to let that wash away!

  31. the result is a disgrace to the sports

  32. So, the Hamiltonians are bitter that the race ended as a race.
    Whether you agree how the red period was handled or not – the race was decided on track, not elsewhere.
    The Mercedes chose a very conservative strategy that left Hamilton on old tyres, whereas Red Bull took a gamble. The win was decided on track.

    The only single unfair situation was Hamilton gaining a second outside of the track.

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 15:21

      Fairnness is debatable. Rules are black and white.

    2. It didn’t end as a race though, did it? It ended with a sudden change of decision, which was then carried out half-assedly, to put someone with fresh tyres right behind someone who had easily led the race comfortably on old tyres who stood no chance of defending. There was no race there, just a farce.

  33. I’m surprised how little discussion there is of Hamilton passing off track and there being no investigation. I thought this race would be controversial for that reason, not that racing was resumed after the SC.

    1. I think it sure would have been if Lewis had cruised to the win as he appeared to have been doing. I don’t think it would have made much difference though. Lewis was just that much faster. Mercedes basically cost him the championship by butchering his strategy.

  34. Farce. Just farce.

  35. Just like in Saudi GP. Stupid stewards, good championship race. 9.

  36. Where’s 100?

    I can see many people will rate this by the outcome, not by the excitement it brought.

  37. 1 (31%)
    2 (0%)
    3 (2%)
    4 (2%)
    5 (2%)
    6 (2%)
    7 (8%)
    8 (5%)
    9 (9%)
    10 (40%)
    Total Voters: 133

    I voted 7 and that felt too much, why so many 10s?

    1. Why so many 1s?

      1. Also true, these are championship-outcome related votes, I guess, the 1s are hamilton fans and 10s are verstappen fans, I’m the latter but voted 7 cause the race wasn’t all that exciting except the last lap and a few battles such as early on or with perez; hamilton defended well considering the very old tyres, but I think it was clear merc was the fastest car this race, even with 20 laps older tyres he was competitive.

    2. Likely all the weird ‘anyone but Hamilton’ people who seem to be surprisingly well organized.

  38. Over 70% of voters so far have voted either 1 or 10. Pretty much sums up these forums this year.

    1. Indeed, as it really doesn’t reflect the race imo.

      1. @esploratore1 @aussierod well, there’s no middle ground. In these circumstances, you’re either part of the Rebellion or part of the Empire. If you’re a fan of the sport, you really can’t remain neutral ;-)

        The Rebels voted 1 and the Empire lackeys voted 10.

  39. I half felt that Masi would call a red flag to get the final laps of racing, then the safety car came out. I thought 100% the race would finish under safety car, Mercedes did too.

    I am actually pleased it didn’t and we got a race to the finish. Was it unfair for Lewis, yes. Was it for the good of the sport? Yes.

    I think this is the direction we are going to go where we will hardline on both the safety but also maximise on race potential as we go forward. I just really hope we get more clarity on stewarding. If Lewis had been forced to give the place back I think this issue might have been completely different, so for the race control there’s a lot of work to do still.

  40. That’s it. Watched F1 since the 1967 Dutch race. I am not prepared to watch a sport where the rules are change on the whim of the director. Get rid of Masi and I might come back.
    Nothing against Max, it is not his fault he won.

  41. How disappointing. I was hoping that the race would be clean, non controversial, and the fastest team and driver would win. Unfortunately, none of that happened. I honestly would have been very happy if Verstappen won on merit. But like this? How can any true fan of the sport like a championship decided like this?

    1. Totally agree. I am not a Hamilton or Vestappen fan but F1 is a million miles from being a fair sport – I will never watch this sort of farce again.

  42. The comment section on this site is almost as bad as YouTube. Total cesspool.

  43. Went with a 5 as the race was an utter snore fest as races go. Looks like the changes made to help overtaking didn’t really help.

    Guess people rather vote 1 for the disgrace in how it ended or a 10 if they are Verstappen fans and don’t care about disgrace.

  44. Gave it a 6. Felt generous.
    Probabably an 8 but amateurish stewarding drops it.

  45. Wasn’t the greatest of races but it ended up an absolute disgrace.

  46. I voted 2. Nothing to do with the race director/stewards. It was because outside of lap 1 and the final lap, nothing happened. I still think every race on this track is a snooze fest.

  47. Speaking as a neutral, here are my thoughts on that finale:
    – Max obviously caught a huge break with the late safety car. Without that Lewis had it in the bag, this title has been decided (today) by circumstance.
    – Once Latifi was in the wall on lap 53, the target of the marshals and race control was always going to be to clear the incident and, if possible, remove the lapped traffic, in time for one racing lap at the end. This isn’t partisanship, it’s simply bad for the product for races to end under safety car.
    – The incident looked to be clear at the end of lap 56. But for some reason race control had already declared there would be no removal of lapped traffic – this is baffling.
    – Midway round lap 57, following some lobbying from Red Bull (not a good look) race control appear to realise they made a mistake and authorise the lapped traffic between Lewis and Max to get out of the way.
    – Because the safety car needs to get back to the pits clear of the field before they can go green, it is too late to let the lapped traffic further back go clear. This is a bodge, it achieves the correct sporting target as described above, but was completely unnecessary as all the lapped cars could have been let go sooner.
    – The FIA race direction and stewarding this season has not been good enough, by a long way. The no-call on Hamilton cutting the corner and retaining the lead on lap 1 was just this race’s example but there have been countless others. The FIA have allowed the impression of being influenced by others when there was no need for this.

    In terms of a race rating, for the ending (as I judge it to be controversial only in process rather than substance) it has to be a 10 – what more could you want? One championship rival passing the other for the title.

    I never thought I would see anything beat Hamilton on Glock in 2008 but that might just do it.

  48. Gave it a 1, as it was incredibly disappointing on multiple levels. The actual racing was very poor, and the track changes don’t seem to have helped much. Then the title was essentially decided by Nicholas Latifi binning it into a wall and in the end it was a complete gift from Masi. Pathetic way for such a great season to end.

    This as a general F1 fan – I didn’t care who won as long as no one drove into anyone else/blatantly cheated, so the outcome didn’t matter to me… just the way it was reached.

  49. Votes are normalising a bit with a 61% on 1s and 10s, less than before, several 7, 8, 9 sprang.

  50. I didn’t watch it, as promised after Brazil. But I listened to it on BBC radio – and the decision making for the safety car was nothing short of race fixing after lobbying from Whinger Spice.
    Masi broke the rules, and while I can’t see them changing the result – I can’t wait to see how they get out of changing it after clearing breaking a hard and fast rule.

  51. And this is only leveling Hamiltons luck of Imola where he got 18 points after being a lap down.

    With Baku, Copse and bowling Bottas, he still won

  52. i thought that it was not until the safety line you could overtake after a safety car, maybe i am wromg but i feel like this has been a let down and the fia need to answer soom questions

    looking forward to next year

  53. 10 for the excitement.

    1 for the feeling it left me with.

    Maybe it has to get worse before it gets better. But I hope it DOES get better at some point.

    Max deserves it over the whole season but the way he won it today is not good for anyone!

  54. To be a ‘F1 race’ it needed to be run under the F1 race rules.

  55. I gave that a 1 because that result was so corrupt beyond belief, what happened at the end that it would probably put many many people off watching Formula 1 as they’d see it as some awful reality TV show instead of actual sport

  56. Another interesting race ruined by bad stewarding. I hope Liberty Media finds all the social media buzz worth the price of sacrificing the soul of the sport.

  57. I have difficulties rating this race. I enjoyed and the drama was interesting but the SC decision was weird and even though I don’t go as far as to day it was a complete farce, it still weights a lot, or putting in other words, casts a big shadow over the race.
    Having cars unlap themselves under SC is the norm but there was no time for all of them so it looked rushed and messy the half-solution they thought. If only there was one more lap it would have been a “perfect” race…

  58. It’s a 1 from me. I thought the previous race was a total farce but this really takes the biscuit. The race direction this year has been absolutely terrible, with a completely inconsistent approach to penalties and driving standards. No wonder drivers don’t know the rules of engagement when fighting wheel to wheel. In my opinion Hamilton did gain an advantage off track, and didn’t appear to give the advantage back. Did it make a difference to the outcome of the race? Probably not. But that’s not the point.

    But for me the big issue was the absolute fudge with the final safety car restart. Just completely unnecessary and can only really be explained as the race director trying to enhance the drama of the race. That’s not his job. His job is to ensure that the race is conducted safely and fairly, and that the rules are being followed. In the end his decisions handed a huge advantage to a single competitor, which should never happen in a sport. It’s absolutely contrary to the principles of fair and equitable competition. Yes of course in any safety car situation there are winners and losers, this is a natural part of the sport. But the problem is that the director chose to deviate from the normal procedure in order to do this, which makes that advantage a deliberate thing.

    Set aside any partisanship – Formula 1 is first and foremost a sport. A sport in which every competitor should have an equal opportunity within the rules to compete for the win. As I said, the race director has two main priorities – safety and fairness; in that order of priority. Safety is the overriding consideration and realistically fairness may sometimes be sacrificed for safety. That’s how the sporting regulations are written. If we ascribe to a codified ruleset some kind of spirit or underlying intention, it must be simply this – that the competitors are safe, above all else. Once safety in ensured, then fairness should be upheld.

    In this instance, the decision by Masi to allow only those drivers between Hamilton and Verstappen to overtake, did not fulfil either of these criteria. It was not done because this ensured the highest levels of safety, and it was not done because it ensured that the race would be as fair as possible. Fairness was sacrificed for the sake of the show.

    Never before in my decades of watching F1 have I ever come away from a race feeling like those running the race have knowingly given a competitor an unfair advantage, deliberately, in order to spice up the show. For me this is the absolute red line. This is where a sport ceases to be a sport. This has nothing to do with who won that race, or who became champion. It matters so much because all competitors need to be able to trust that they will be given as fair a chance to compete as possible within the constraints of safety; no matter what team they drive for, or where they stand in the championship. Once F1 ceases to be a fair sport, it becomes something completely different – a deliberately engineered show where the directors may intervene to decide who wins and who loses, no matter the skill or fortune of the competitor.

    I’ve seen incredible drama over the years. I’ve seen bad decisions. I’ve seen astonishing twists of fortune beyond anyone’s control. But I’ve never seen anything like this. Even Singapore 2008 doesn’t come close to this.

    I really don’t know how to feel about F1 any more and whether I’m going to carry on watching while there remains this possibility that it will be manipulated by those whose job should solely be about safety and fairness. It’s a fundamental breach of trust.

  59. 7.
    Some typically baffling FIA decision making as usual, but enough twists and turns to keep it watchable.
    A good finish to the season.

    I give this comments section a 2, however. I find amusing how many people think F1 is somehow a higher standard of sport than all the others. Or even a sport, for that matter…

  60. This was one of the hardest races to rate for me. The start sequence was good, the defence from Perez to bring Max back into play was epic. But a large part of the race was more or less standard Abu Dhabi boredom. The pass to settle the championship (for now, at least) was a really nice one though, we got both Hamilton and Verstappen racing hard, fair and in control.

    And the part after the finish seeing the emotions in both drivers, seeing Hamilton hugged by his father, seeing Anthony Hamilton being amongst the first to congratulate Max and Jos Verstappen, and off course to see Hamilton shake hands with and congratulate Max that all did a lot to make up the numb, empty feeling from the SC period.

    In the end I gave it a 7 because there were a lot of very very high rated positives. Sadly there was also that unsatisfying feeling of the SC mess.

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