Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2021

Verstappen is champion as controversial last-lap call leaves Mercedes seething

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix summary

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Max Verstappen has won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and clinched the 2021 Formula 1 world championship in a sensational conclusion to the season.

The race began and ended in controversy. Lewis Hamilton took the lead from pole-winner Verstappen, who swiftly responded.

Verstappen sent his Red Bull-Honda into an open gap at turn six, forcing Hamilton to take evasive action through the run-off. Hamilton rejoined the track with a one second advantage.

Over furious Red Bull protestations, race control ruled the incident would not be investigated, determining that Hamilton had slowed down enough to give back any lasting advantage he would have gained by going wide.

From there, Hamilton began to pull out a margin on his medium compound tyres, while Verstappen suffered with degradation on the soft tyres. The Red Bull driver pitted on lap 13 for a new set of hard tyres, and Hamilton was brought in to cover on lap 15. Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull cycled to the lead.

Driving to save his team mate’s championship prospects, Perez defended his position aggressively to keep Hamilton at bay, slashing the Hamilton advantage down to just over a second. However, Hamilton was able to pull away incrementally, bringing his lead back up to around four seconds.

Antonio Giovinazzi’s car lost drive and came to a stop at the exit of turn nine, resulting in a Virtual Safety Car. This gave Verstappen the opportunity to pit for a second set of hard tyres, hoping to use strategy to retake the lead. Verstappen needed to gain about a second per lap in order to catch Hamilton, but could not consistently gain enough time to bring the gap down to under ten seconds.

In an incredible twist, Nicholas Latifi spun and crashed exiting turn 13, resulting in a full safety car intervention. Verstappen pitted for a fresh set of soft tyres, setting the stage for one final lap of green flag racing.

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Following pressure from Red Bull on the radio, race control made a late call to allow some of the lapped cars to overtake Hamilton before the restart. Suddenly, Verstappen was sat behind his rival with much fresher tyres.

On the final lap, he made the lunge of his racing life to take the lead at turn five. Hamilton had one final chance to slipstream past and take the lead around the outside of turn nine, but could not take the position back, and Verstappen drove away to the race victory and his first drivers’ championship.

Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff was immediately on the radio to race director Michael Masi to complain about the last-lap decision. “Toto, it’s called a motor race,” Masi responded. “Okay? We went car racing.”

Amidst the drama of the incredible scenes that decided the championship, Perez retired under the last safety car intervention, which clinched an eighth consecutive constructors’ championship for Mercedes. Carlos Sainz Jnr was elevated to third, completing the podium for Ferrari.

Yuki Tsunoda finished fourth, a career best for the rookie driver, ahead of his AlphaTauri team mate Pierre Gasly in fifth. In his last race with Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas finished sixth, ahead of Lando Norris, who recovered from a puncture to finish seventh.

The Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon finished eighth and ninth, ahead of the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in tenth.

Kimi Raikkonen retired from his final Formula 1 grand prix after sustaining damage in an accident, and George Russell retired from his last start at Williams due to a mechanical failure.

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix reaction

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RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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345 comments on “Verstappen is champion as controversial last-lap call leaves Mercedes seething”

  1. Forza Kimi!

    1. Even if you claim that Red Bull were given something unfairly – what they were given unfairly was a chance to win the race fairly on track. And that’s what they did. They won the race fairly on track. And that’s the bottom line.

      1. Michael Counsell
        12th December 2021, 15:24

        He said Forza Kimi…

        1. Haha!

          This SLH losers are really something!

          1. How does SLH come in?

      2. Your fairly and my fairly are very different.
        The rules
        Sporting Regulation 39.12
        The safety car has to wait until one lap AFTER the cars have unlapped themselves (that’s all cars not just the ones between title contenders) and the one lap means the race finishes behind the safety car.
        Or
        Article 39.10 Except under 39.12 below, the safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him.

        So not fair in any way it was gifted.

        1. GAVIN CHAPMAN, if you only bothered to read my comment with comprehension…
          It makes your statement irrelevant, which remains irrelevant.

      3. I’m an Irish Hamilton fan and I agree. Unlucky at the end but thems the breaks. Luck comes and goes and isn’t and shouldn’t be shared equally. Congratulations Max

        1. This. safety cars have frequently the determined outcome of a race – nothing new here. Red bull needed a SC, and luck handed it to them. Feel sorry for Lewis, but luck has played a role all season long. Nothing new this race. But what a season and what a final! My thanks to these 2 magnificent drivers :)

      4. @Amian They can’t overturn the decision because it was the decision of the FIA themselves .. but than again .. Warwick and Conolly hate Max and are pro Lewis so it wouldn’t surprise me if the stewards rule in favor of Merc! What a disgrace if the championship is decided in a courtroom :(

        1. @kavu That wasn’t a Stewarding decision, it was a Race Control decision – world of difference…

      5. But unfairly by the rules. If rules don’t apply, just make it an autocross championship. Lexis should be the champion, but for marketing reasons it had to be Verstappen. All that talk on stewards who are supposed to hate whoever are without prove or relevance. Rules apply! Lewis should be champion of champions.

      6. I really enjoyed seeing Max battle this season but it feels empty to see a one lap finish with Max on fresh softs starting alongside Lewis on tires nearly 40 laps old. Not sure how anyone could call that fair under any circumstance. We all lost today. Including Max who knows he did not prove he is the better driver which was what we wanted to see.

    2. Sorry to see him go. He was pretty good up to his last year. On my top three for this season with Max and Lando. Sorry that I can’t include Fred up there, may be the fourth.

    3. Mercedes should, and probably will, realise that continuing to appeal will not play well with many of their customers.

  2. If they wanted one racing lap, why not red flag and have a straight fight… oh yes because that would have lead to the wrong result

    1. I agree. That would have been way safer as there would be ample time to clear the debris out of the way and still go racing. Max is a worthy champion, but this was such BS. We didnt want a championship decided by stupid stewarding and this is what we got. Worse yet, Mercedes may appeal, turning the whole thing into a circus.

      The turn 4 incident was wrong too. This whole “let them race” mantra has gone too far.

      1. JackL, it says a lot that, on other sites, I’m even seeing quite a few Max fans saying that they feel that Hamilton and Mercedes were stitched up there by race control breaking their own rules.

        I suspect there will be lobbying to ensure that Mercedes does not protest, but they would be within their rights when race control broke rule 48.12 of the sporting regulations in at least two different ways – the first by only telling some lapped cars to go past, when they are supposed to order all lapped cars past, and then secondly by ordering the race to restart immediately, when the regulations clearly state that the safety car is withdrawn on the next lap after the lapped cars are instructed to overtake.

        1. anon

          if they red flagged the race, noone would gain unfair advantage and 3 laps to race too! unbelievable they first say no lapped cars to pass, then let only cars between ham/ver pass, and start immediately… what happened to safety first? what happened to regulations at all! i hope this is challenged at the highest places possible (afraid mercedes legal teams are not as pro active as whining redbul teams). they artificially changed the result and everywhere else this is called match/game fixing!

          1. This is why I believe the safety car should go. I’ve been saying so for years. It’s unnecessary and wastes racing laps. If an innocent can’t be handled under the VSC, just red flag it. That’s safer for the marshals and let’s us see more racing.

        2. Well, here it is. The finale we did not deserve.

          Protest by Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team against Car 33, alleged breach of Article 48.8 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations

          Protest by Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team against the classification established at the end of the Competition, alleged breach of Article 48.12 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.

        3. anon,
          At the time of writing this Mercedes representatives are heading to the stewards office to speak about the SC procedure. They surely will protest the decision post race. Though realistically speaking what’s the chance of succeeding inside the FIA tailor made legal system. The last one to overrule an FIA decision is Flavio Briatore but he had nothing to lose because he got a life ban.

          1. I can see this going to court. There are likely massive financial implications, and the FIA have not followed their own rules. I doubt the result will change, but they could be due massive damages.

    2. While I agree a red flag would’ve been a better call, it’s Mercedes’ responsibility to change tires when they have a VSC and then a SC where both times their rivals pitted.

      At the very least, recognize this. Hamilton would’ve won had Mercedes made even a single correct call, today.

      1. I think you’re correct. I couldn’t believe Mercedes didn’t pit after Verstappen had pitted under safety car. It was overly cautious and I’m certain there was time. Same with the VSC.

        Hamilton was superb, but Mercedes were a bit stilted. They allowed Red Bull opportunities.

        1. No, think you’re being too harsh on Merc there. You have to look at the individual incidents, rather than looking at their cumulative effect (which is unforeseeable).

          Whilst I initially thought they were wrong not to pit Ham under VSC, as it turned out they were spot on. Max got nowhere close even with newer tyres, and there was no risk of having to re-overtake Max.

          I think they probably were wrong, on balance of probabilities, for the full safety car later on, but it was still a very tight call that could have gone either way. If Ham came in and the incident took one more lap to clear, they would have handed Max the title (since he’d not have pitted). Given it didn’t, then Ham pitting probably would have won him the title since odds would be on being able to pass Max (as he did in the reversed role).

          1. @simon999 And what if he came in and they did give 1 more lap to race? Then both drivers would’ve been on even footing, Hamilton probably would’ve won since he had pace, today…

            Really, though, should’ve been a red flag from the off.

        2. As for the vsc that ended right as Hamilton came by the pits so it would have been position lost. I thought they dodged a bullet right there in not stopping. As for the SC If you watched the gps you could see that verstappen was gaining like crazy as Hamilton had to stay behind the safety car. There was no way he would keep the spot. Worse he would be behind a heap of cars on the lead lap as well. The full SC basically was bad timing for Hamilton and at a bad time in the lap it came out on. Just really a straight flush for RBR.

      2. They would have lost track position either time.

        1. @dmw and would’ve won the championship had all other parts remained the same. Hamilton on those hards did a masterful job against Max’s softs. Imagine if they both had softs.

      3. They take their decisions within the rules. They kept Lewis out knowing that one of two things were in the rule book: either they at most 2 laps of racing with 4 cars between them or they late the cars through and the race doesn’t have time to restart. When race control make a decision that is illegal, according to the rule book, which must be agreed on by the teams according to the Concorde agreement, then how could Merc have strategised for it?

        1. My spelling!!!

          * have at most two..,

          * late = let

      4. IMHO the only bad call they made, without hindsight, was to pit Lewis immediately after Max. They the away their tyre advantage.

        Pitting under the VSC would have given Max track position, as red bull would not have pitted. As the leaders, it was the call which most teams would have made.

        Pitting under the safety car would have been an even more foolish decision to take at the time, too. There was every chance the race would finish under the safety car, which would have handed the win to Max anyway.

        1. Yea but if an SC came out after max stopped they lose the spot. They had to cover.

          1. If an SC came out after Max stopped, he could have pitted under safety car conditions and it would have been even more advantageous.

          2. Not if it came out at the wrong time. Teams always cover the car behind for this reason if they can. If the field closes up before you come around you are screwed.

      5. No because RB would do the opposite of Merc keeping max out and Masi would sc until the end or restart with one lap to got BUT with lapped cars “in the way” which would hand max the title.
        letting the lapped cars past in the race killed Lewis’s chance because if they was left in position they would be a buffer between Lewis and max as max couldn’t overtake lapped cars until he crosses the line and Lewis would gap them making a early sprint to the line. Also if Lapped cars was given enough time to drive to the back of the pack that would need one more lap which would hand Lewis the title..

        In my opinion masi artificially meddled to give RB the call that benefited them at the end either way so Mercedes was screwed no matter what they did.

        Merc are 100% justified in protesting

        1. Especially as the rules where made up as the race went on.
          Danny Pinkney Sporting Regulation 39.12
          The safety car has to wait until one lap AFTER the cars have unlapped themselves.
          That’s all cars not the ones between the wdc contenders. And the lap means race finishes under safety car

          Article 39.10 Except under 39.12 below, the safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him.

          Masi made it up as he went on. Congrats to max but Masi as painted f1 in bad light today

        2. Yup. Absolutely

      6. Mercedes made their call based on the known rules, why pit to give up P1 to finish under SC? That was a sensible calculation because there was no time to let all the lapped cars unlap themselves and restart the race as the rule says, how could they anticipate Masi would just clear the 5 cars separating Lewis from Max?

        1. Not only clear the lapped cars but ALSO restart the race without the required 1 lap that follows! Even the announcers were confused by this. As a Max fan, I was shocked and elated. But it does feel empty though. Not the way to win the championship. F1 lost today.

    3. Why would they red flag .. the boarding wasn’t compromised .. you only do a red flag if a safety car wouldn’t suffice

    4. Cant red flag if the barriers are not damaged.

  3. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    12th December 2021, 15:04

    Hysterical this is hysterical.

    1. They were simply testing a new sprint race format. 1 and done.

  4. I’m a LH fan, for me that turn 5 was a penalty for LH.

    I say karma restored the order in the last lap..what a race.

    Honestly, when they Said lapped cars will not overtake, I ended up rooting for max to win this..

    FIA need better officials.

    1. Do you really Max would have kept Lewis behind irrespective of that?

      1. Lewis cant even pass checo on dead softs ofc max will keep him behind

        1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          12th December 2021, 15:23

          Lewis passed Checo. i saw it on the TV! :-)

    2. + 100000000000000000000000

    3. Not really, if you look at it objectively, Max made a late lunge. He was slightly ahead going into the corner, but he’s still obliged to leave space in the corner. Its at the exit that, he can take the racing line and run the other car out of room. Lewis was pushed wide on the entry to, and in the corner.
      So if they told Lewis to give it back essentially theyre saying any driver can make a late lunge and run the other car out of room.

      To me, it was a farce. We wanted it decided on track, not by stewarding. Lewis was just too fast for Max even on worn hards. Many will say, well Mercedes shouldve pitted him, and they wouldve. Except they were wary of a fight with Max and what he might do. With any other driver, this wouldnt have been an issue, but with how far Max was willing to push things, they were terrified of giving up track position. The reality is that the stewards allowed that to happen repeatedly, and we got a frustrating finale. I love Max, but this is not how I wanted him to win, and he goes way too far too often.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        12th December 2021, 15:37

        “with how far Max was willing to push things, they were terrified of giving up track position”
        There’s stewarding for that, as we’ve saw in Saudi Arabia. That’s not valid.

        1. It actually is. They had the opportunity to pit multiple times, but refused if it meant giving up track position to Max, and therefore, passing him on track. Its not that passing is that hard on this track, though its certainly difficult, its that if there is a collision, they lose. The stewards have let it slide far too often, see Brazil. Max’s mantra is “you pull out or we crash” and thats not motor racing.

          1. it is part of it…
            ask Schumacher, ask Senna, ask Prost
            (if only it was possible)

      2. Was there a single time Lewis was inside DRS range after leaving the track? I don’t think so. Therefore if a driver is in a position to make an overtake and the other driver leaves the track and is suddenly out of DRS range, that qualifies as leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

    4. That’s the consequence of unclear rules and not applying them consistently. The FIA’s over-riding goal seems to have been “let them race, for the show” and I’m sure those are the directions given to Masi through-out the season. Whilst that’s not a bad goal to have, it has meant that as situations surfaced, it wasn’t obvious what the ruling should be. And they didn’t do a good job at stating where the boundaries lie.

      You could argue the lap one incident either way. Max kept it on track, but he did force Lewis off the road and didn’t leave a car’s width. Hopefully all these incidents will cause them to have a much clearer view of the rules next year.

    5. Ajaya respect

    6. Hmmmm, that looked a little more like Hamilton treating a late arriving Verstappen, who definitely could not stop quicker and would have won the WC with an “opps” moment, like the hind legs of a very bad tempered donkey. Lewis definitely treated Perez as a potential assassin, probably wisely.

      They raced on for another day & we all got 4 laps of controversy at the end. If Latifi ends up in an RB sponsored car…… Shades of crashgate singapore.

      Whatever, Max and Lewis have both been outstanding this year with the equipment supplied by their teams and both have achieved incredible results. Congratulations to both of them.

    7. Like washing across the racing line with a late lunge? VER has ruined this sport. “forced wide”, “pushed off”, “gone wide”, “late lunge”. I love racing, but this isn’t it. It’s ruined 15 years of the rule book.

      1. @theswift Just curious, did you watch in 2015 and 2016? It sure doesn’t seem like it. Those were Hamilton’s moves, almost particular to his driving Nico off the road in order to win

        1. @neiana
          He made a career out of that move especially in his Mclaren days. In Hockenheim 2008, he pushed Massa twice off the road in two successive corners in the same lap and wasn’t even investigated and he won the title by one point.

          1. @tifoso1989 exactly. Kinda funny to see ol’ @theswift over here praising Lewis while decrying Max’s style when Hamilton’s style for winning his first several championships was very very specifically what @theswift hates about Max’s style, today!

          2. @neiana
            Unbelievable ! Selective or short memories, I don’t know but that was Hamilton’s trademark move when he was the same age as Max !

        2. this. there are no saints among f1 world champions

    8. You know it’s in the rules that lapped cars don’t have to go through.

      Sporting Regulation
      Article 39.10 Except under 39.12 below, the safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him
      39.12
      The safety car has to wait until one lap AFTER the cars have unlapped themselves

      These rules were not followed as 39.12 all cars have to go through and the extra lap means race finishes under safety car.

      Congrats to max but Masi is not fit for purpose and gifted the wdc

      1. Posting this repeatedly won’t change anything.

        1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          12th December 2021, 17:07

          It won’t change the fact that the rule was broken. This is the stain on max’s win.

          1. I guarantee you that the record books won’t show any stain. History will record Verstappen as 2021 WDC no matter how much people blether emotionally about it.

      2. If a ref calls a free kick that didnt exist, do they remove the goal that was scored after the game because it was a bad call? No, this is one of 22 races, it was a very close fight but Max won.

  5. Ok, so I just had a look at the sporting regulations. If I interpret this right, what was decided with the safety car is quite clearly against rules. Am I missing something?

    If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW
    OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system, any cars that
    have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety
    car
    . This will only apply to cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the Line at the end of the
    lap during which they crossed the first Safety Car line for the second time after the safety car
    was deployed.

    Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car these cars should then proceed
    around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and make every effort to take up
    position at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car. Whilst they are overtaking, and in
    order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the
    racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable. Unless the clerk of the course considers the
    presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the
    safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.

    If the clerk of the course considers track conditions are unsuitable for overtaking the message
    “OVERTAKING WILL NOT BE PERMITTED” will be sent to all Competitors via the official messaging
    system.

    1. So what was wrong? Hamilton passed them, so they were lapped cars.

      Then they waited for the overtake untill track was cleared.

    2. “once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap”

      This bit? Mercedes will be furious. (rightly)

      1. Yes, sorry. Tried to make it bold but it didn’t work for some reason.

        “any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety
        car.”

        “Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.”

      2. You mean congrats Max, great job!

        1. He means see you in court, unless, a clause can be found that gives the race director the power to determine a fraction of the lapped cars can pass before the race is resumed.

          1. Yes and only the ones between Ham and Max 😂. Masi set things up perfectly! Pretty egregious really.

      3. “once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap”

        If this means that they would have run out of laps, I think Mercedes MUST appeal. This is too big. Mercedes made a decision on tires, knowing that either all cars must unlap themselves or none. Only letting those between the two leaders unlap is not in the rules and could not have been expected by Mercedes. I’m a Lewis fan and accepted and still accept that Max won the title fair and square (it’s not him or RB who made these decisions), but if the sporting regulations were broken, that is bad. I would imagine purely from a Commercial perspective Mercedes would be forced to appeal. But only if my quoted line above really means they would have run out of laps.

        I also think they need stop these discussions between the teams and the race director. I know this has happened for ever, but now it’s on air it looks bad. Horner telling Massi “we need one lap” and then getting it just fuels the conspiracy theories.

    3. That seems to be pretty clear that all lapped cars must overtake the leader and safety car. As it says “REQUIRED”.

      1. Also pretty clear that the safety car needs to then do 1 further lap before pitting after the last car has gone through.

        1. This. I hope mercedes appeals and wins in the court.

    4. Definitely sounds like grounds for appeal, but will Mercedes do it, or cop it on the chin for the benefit of the sport?

      As I said before the race, the officials had boxed themselves into a corner, flying by the seat of their pants on every single decision because the rules have been thrown out of the window by bad decision making, followed by never admitting mistakes.

      The teams have been compliant, for whatever reason, probably not wanting to expose the “sport” for the joke it is. Is this the straw that breaks the camels back or will we back next year circus as usual with the clowns at the helm?

      1. The question now is: Is Wolf prepared to go to court outside of the FIA for this? I can’t see the FIA agreeing with an official appeal and protest to the race.

        1. They could take it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

      2. Definitely sounds like grounds for appeal, but will Mercedes do it, or cop it on the chin for the benefit of the sport?

        I don’t see how it is of benefit to the sport. The damage is done. I can’t accept this race as legitimate, as Masi didn’t follow the rules. It was a farce.

      3. @skipgamer

        I agree that they didn’t follow the rules, but I’m not sure what the point of an appeal is, because it won’t change the result of the race. It’s not like they can penalize Max for it.

        Also, didn’t we establish that only new facts can be grounds for an appeal, not the director/stewards not following the rules?

        1. The biggest point is to ensure this kind of ridiculous farce never happens again. The other matter is financial: Mercedes will have lost out to the tune of millions in this, because the race director didn’t follow the organisation’s own rules.

          1. @drmouse

            Mercedes’ best play might to get some concessions in return for dropping the matter.

    5. Clearly, Masi panicked and ran out of time. He wasn’t well aware of the rules and made it a “Masi” situation.

      1. Horner called the stewards and said “we only need 1 lap”, and they duly oblidged.

        So much for a sport, when all that effort comes to down the luck, or the whim of a steward.
        A years boils down to one race, as this one race comes down to a single lap.

        At the time of the crash Lewis had the clear advantage, the race was over. Any decisions by the stewards
        should not have overturned that. In my opinion the race should have ended under safety cars. No one would
        have complained as up to that point Hamilton had out driven Verstappen.

        This decision is shocking. Some are talking about karma. This prerational idea of ‘karma’ suits a sport
        which turns on misfortunes.

        Max start the race by ‘giving up’ his first place, seemingly so that he can come back at Hamilton with his
        softs and then proceeds to drive Lewis off the track. Hamilton avoids a certain collision and rejoines the
        track, to the constanation of the RB citing an advantage. Lewis doesn’t speed off but slows so that there
        is no significant advantage. At the end of the race the stewards decision is seen as karma.

        Masi to Toto, “this is racting”.

        Really? Has ‘this’ always been a racing? Championships decided by the stewards.
        Or as Horner would call them, “the racing gods”.

        Someone on youtube after Max’s first Monoco win, made caparisions to Lewis, his age, and when he first won Monoco, and said history would repeat with Verstappen winning this year. I didn’t think too much of it at the time,
        but looking back, it seems we were all along for the ride, on a reordained championship.

        On another note i wonder where the big money was. So ends a decidely fishy season.

        1. Masi might not be good at his job , but there is no conspiracy. If so they could have chosen not to give a penalty to Verstappen in Saudi Arabia, give a more severe penalty to ham when he hit Verstappen, force ham to give the place back. These things would be less controversial than what they have done now .

          Apart from that it would have impossible for them to know that latifi would crash . Anyway incompetence is more likely than being competent conspirators

        2. @Ajaxn

          Max was just slow of the line, mr conspiracy theorist.

          And of course people would have complained if Lewis had won, due to the lack of penalty for Lewis early on.

    6. Thanks for this article. I can see a long appeal process following this now. There is no room for a different interpretation fo the rule here.

      1. It would be fitting for the sport if a driver got a WDC record in a courtroom.
        But I guess certain fans don’t care. Still think this doesn’t make up for Silverstone or Hungary.

        1. @brum55

          Look mate- rules, regulations and laws exist for a reason. Otherwise there is no order whatsoever. The responsibility lies with the FIA and Masi who f up badly- but I find it rather amusing that all of a sudden you care about the image of the sport when Max has been putting a dent on that the last 3 races.

          1. Hilarious, must be really tough for you guys. After all you only got away in the first lap what Verstappen was punished for in the last race, you kept over 10 car lengths behind twice in the last race under the safety car, Bottas was able to block Verstappen to allow himself to remain a buffer in the race. And Verstappen was punished twice and had to let Hamilton through on two occasions.
            Guess your luck was going to run out eventually.

          2. Blaize Falconberger (@)
            12th December 2021, 17:10

            No one got away with anything at silverstone or anywhere else – everything was investigated… give it a rest. If you’re dumb enough to be sucked in by Horner’s pantomime hysterics, more the fool you.

          3. @timeslides

            +1. Couldn’t have said it better

          4. @timeslides he got away with smashing into Max and cheated him out of 50 points in the WDC. If Hamilton were to win it would have been no different to Schumacher’s 94 season.

          5. @timeslides Probably shouldn’t accuse people of being dumb when you don’t know that Verstappen was taking out twice in consecutive races.

          6. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
            12th December 2021, 21:50

            This is just like 94. The fia rigs the championship in favor of an inferior British driver who still finds a way to lose.

        2. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          12th December 2021, 18:58

          Awh, that’s sweet. You won!!! And you’re still angry!

          1. @timeslides of course, it should have been over pre Abu Dhabi! And then we wouldn’t have had this bitter ending.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            13th December 2021, 4:30

            @brum55 @timeslides But that’s Max’s fault. The guy is fast, Red Bull have given him the fastest car by a mile that only suits him so there’s no intra-team competition. But he’s very inconsistent and Lewis is just much faster even in a slower car and has 10-100 times the wheel-to-wheel ability that Max has.

            Max is going perpendicular to corners as if he’s never driven before while Lewis turns better than a panther. Just different category drivers with Max being forced to try and take out Lewis since he realized like Nico that he really doesn’t know how to drive compared to Lewis. If he didn’t, I’m sure his dad explained to him just like Nico’s dad told him.

            Yeah, with help from Checo, Toro Rosso, the FIA and lord knows what else, Max can be a championship contender but guess what, just about anyone can do that in any sport. If you give 10 free penalties per match, I can beat any team in the world!

            The amazing thing is that a driver won the championship against a driver with 10 free penalties per match and that was Lewis. Kudos to Lewis for what is really an outstanding achievement.

          3. @freelittlebirds haha, no guessing who you are a fan of.

          4. @brum55 yeah but I’m also a fan of 100s of other sports people.

    7. They did not let all lapped cars pass. Maybe that’s a difference?

    8. Thanks for posting the relevant rule. Sadly we, the fans, loose. F1 lost credibility. The motto of the FIA is “Truth and Honestly”. I can only assume the FIA will fully endorse the result of this race. Somehow … something is missing from the race result … maybe something like an honest win.

    9. I think the regulations in fact give wide discretion to the Race Director. 48.12 says “If a certain command is given, some things must follow” but this does not prohibit the Race Director from giving other ad hoc commands, which is what happened.

      So, from a legal point of view, the Race Director did not exceed his authority, which is very wide – but that’s a separate debate from whether the decision was fair or reasonable.

    10. I think the second paragraph of article 48.3 gives interesting context to all of section 48 in the sporting regulations.

      It will be used only if Competitors or officials are in immediate physical danger on or near the track but the circumstances are not such as to necessitate suspending sprint qualifying session or the race.

      This suggests that the regulations are putting limits on when the safety car can be called, and when it has to be withdrawn.

      48.12 says:

      Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.

      It doesn’t say that the safety can can’t return to the pits before then, just that if its presence is no longer necessary it WILL come in at the end of the following lap. This makes sense in the context of 48.3, it’s putting an upper limit on how long the safety car can stay out when there is no longer a safety hazard.

      Then 48.13 says:

      When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” will be sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system and the car’s orange lights will be extinguished. This will be the signal to the Competitors and drivers that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.

      It doesn’t say that all of the requirements of 48.12 need to be met before the safety car is allowed to come in, or reference it at all, just “when the clerk of the course decides it is safe” the safety car enters the pit lane “at the end of that lap.”

      I read all that as saying that the regulations give a procedure to follow throughout the safety car period. Once all of the steps are completed and the hazard is gone the safety car must come in. However, if during this process the clerk of the course decides that the track is safe they can call in the safety car at the end of that lap, before all of the steps are completed.

  6. Best driver won the championship

  7. I cried. Who else? Hopefully that’s it. Otherwise, anymore controversy will make this sport look horrible. Lewis started perfectly, managed everything perfectly…. But this happens…

    1. @krichelle

      Emotional yes but didn’t quite reach tears. What Masi did is akin to a referee in football blowing the final whistle, then restarting play and allowing the other team to score a goal while they were in an advantageous position.

  8. Welp. Gonna be arguing this one for the next few decades. Personally, I think that was a bogus end to the season, but maybe when I’m calmer I’ll see it differently. Maybe now Max and RB will get over their persecution complex.

    1. No, they have every right to have that “persecution complex” they were cheated out 36-50 points in Silverstone and Hungary by Mercedes. They were punished in Saudi for what Hamilton got away with in Abu Dhabi.

      Despite that Verstappen beat a 7xWDC in an inferior car.

  9. What an ending, absolutely insane. Couldn’t make it up. So happy to be a fan despite all the controversy and all the bad decisions. It’s F1 to a tee isn’t it?

    Congratulations to Max, at least, to be fair, it wasn’t decided with a crash…

    1. It was absolutely a crash that decided it 100%

      1. @schooner the one that put Max into the wall and Lewis on top of the podium?

        1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          12th December 2021, 17:11

          Give. It. A. Rest.

    2. Absolutely agree, drama and controversy till the end.

      As an F1 fan, I love that it went down to the wire. Either one deserved the championship, although I do believe Verstappen was the better driver, despite his aggressive style. And Mercedes with a clean sweep of constructors’ titles in this era, gotta respect that.

      Now the FIA has to sort out the rules and how they apply them, because it did get out of hand and in the way of the racing this year.

  10. Honestly? it reeks, because of the FIA. All year they’ve made weird decisions and it got to this… and it was a weird decision again.

    I’m glad Max won. I wanted him to win. But why does it need to leave a bad taste on my mouth?

    Baku set a bad precedent. Do all they can to ensure green flag racing. And they did it here to, in a different way again.

    1. @fer-no65

      But why does it need to leave a bad taste on my mouth?

      Because the rule book went down the drain to fabricate that last racing lap. Baku felt artificial because it absolutely was, but at least it was within the regulations. I was feeling gutted that such a close season and a close race was going to end behind the safety car, but what we actually got felt even worse.

  11. Masi is a joke. He lost control several races ago, but this was the final nail in the coffin.

    Mercedes didn’t pit Hamilton, because they thought there wouldn’t be enough time to take the SC in. And then Masi bended the rules, so that Verstappen could easily overtake Hamilton.

    Obviously this isn’t Verstappen’s fault. Congratulations to him. But I think Masi needs to resign, so that the sport will have any integrity left.

    1. @hotbottoms Merc didn’t pit Lewis earlier, as well, under the VSC. Can’t complain about Masi when Merc stays so dang German-inflexible.

      1. Please stop with the racism. Try to make your points without it. I mean, we all know who you really are, we know you can control yourself when it’s your main account on the line, just pack it in.

        1. Who are you talking to? This is my main account & has been my main account & also what racism? Step off, my guy.

    2. Remember Brazil 2019, where Mercedes almost got burnt by a late pit call under SC. I can see why they didn’t pit Hamilton, especially as they couldn’t do it without losing track position to Verstappen.

    3. If lewis had pitted on to softs, the chances are REDBull would have stayed out, and then the race would have been draged out to end under SC.

      Mercedes did the calculation and knew there wasn’t enough time to complete the race, Horner called and the stewards came to another decision.

      I wonder if “racing gods” is the F1’s secret handshake.

    4. Absolutely. It was a crazy end to the race and Masi clearly showed once more that he is way out of his depth. Or that he is on the Netflix payroll and saw this as a sure fire way of bringing maximum drama. I’m happy for Max – I would have also been happy for Lewis. As a fan of 20+ years I’ve enjoyed this season more than any I can remember, but the race direction/stewarding in F1 really needs to be fixed, as it’s becoming farcical and damaging to the sport.

      Oh, and congrats to Sainz too :-)

  12. This isn’t over.

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 15:25

      I really hope it doesn’t drag on. It will only case more damage :-(

  13. Considering all the bad luck Max had earlier this season (Baku, Hungary, Silverstone) it finally went his way. Feels like justice! Best driver in 2nd best car.

  14. F1 = farce 1 / faeces 1

  15. Yes max get in there. Lucky today but deserved it this year

  16. I didn’t really care whether Lewis or Max became champion. I think they both did great this year.. I was bored during the race as I had hoped to see more of a proper fight between the two. The SC brought back some excitement.. But in the end it leaves me with a sour feeling. It will not leave me awake at night either.. but I do not think what happened is fair in any way. I feel sorry for Lewis.

    1. That’s just how sport is sometimes though….. Someone crashed and a safety car came out. What do they do from there? It would be equally unfair to end the race behind a safety car when it didn’t have to happen….

      1. According to Masi, “That’s Racing”

      2. But if it did end under the safety car, that would be hard luck but at least align with the rules. What actually happened was not in accordance with the sports regulations which is what people are quite rightly upset about.

        1. So they should have red flagged it and given them a standing start. Letting it finish behind a SC doesn’t follow what they did in Baku.

          It’s not just “hard luck” as a decision would have been made to give Max no chance to race when it was clearly possible to do so.

          1. However you feel about it, it would still be a decision that aligns with the rule book. What actually happened didn’t align, it directly contravenes safety car procedure. They literally singled out the 5 cars separating Verstappen and Hamilton to unlap themselves, with the full knowledge that one had fresh softs and the other hand 40 lap old hards. A mockery.

        2. @moshwan dutch fans are really wearing good piece of blinkers, only use the bits of rules that they deem suitable for applying, and rest of the same rule is ignored as MASI assigned by maFIA did today. complete farce of a race ending. i would be happy to see a red flag (if fair racing was to be considered, or let them race) and everyone change to whatever tyre they desire and start from the grid with 3 laps to go! unfortunately thats not happened. unbelievably bad decision to favor one guy… thats not “racing” everywhere you go it will be called game fixing! and isnt allowed!

        3. If it did end under the SC that would have been the fairest decision as Lewis was way ahead of Max when the SC came out. In the interests of “sport” I don’t want Mercedes to appeal, even as a Lewis fan. But in the interests of the integrity of the sport they must appeal. Does the race director really wield such power to bend (or break?) the rules? He’s been trying to engineer this situation all season, tilting the balance in one direction then the other, rather than just applying the regulations. Did he consult the stewards and they all agreed unanimously to only let some cars unlap themselves? Or did he take this decision unilaterally?

          Maybe there needs to be a rule that if the SC is still out with 5 laps remaining, then the race is red flagged and started again when everything is clear. At least then it’s fair as everyone has the chance to return to the pits and get themselves properly ready.

        4. I really don’t think it would be hard luck, Hamilton was untoucheable, he was more than 11 seconds away from Max with 5 laps to go. The win was never his.

      3. @petebaldwin I totally get your point, but I have two objections:

        – The FIA doesn’t have to give Max a chance per se, they just needed to make sure that Latifi’s car as cleared from the track as safely and diligently as possible. Had they decided a red flag was needed, that would’ve been legal and arguably consistent with what happened in Baku.

        – The teams take their decisions based on the track situation and the rule book. Mercedes arguably decided to keep Hamilton on track because they probably felt that either the race would finish under the SC, or that Hamilton would have a “buffer” of lapped cars between him and Verstappen that would give him sufficient space to stay out of Max’s attacks.

        There’s no discussion that the SC procedure was not followed, one just has to look into the rules. The FIA has managed to taint this championship regardless of who the winner is. If they take no action with Mercedes’ appeal, Verstappen will be the driver who won because the FIA ignored their own rulebook. If Mercedes’ appeal goes ahead and the final race results are the ones from the previous lap, Hamilton will be the driver who won in the FIA offices and not on track.

    2. SpaFrancorchamps I agree, look at my post history, I have been saying this constantly that i am sick of new owners liberty media pushing for rulings or meddling in races to give ‘fake’ drama to suit the newer drive to survive/super max/reddit fanbase.
      you still cannot make up rules and break FIA protocol on a whim, especially the restart lapped cars fiasco.

      petebaldwin I agree but it feels like every ‘flag’ decision seems to go RB way after merc makes their move. delayed red flag in saudi after merc pitted to give max who stayed out a free tyre change is one example and I have no doubt the if merc pitted Lewis this race after latifi’s crash rb would invert keeping max out and it would be sc until end or 1 lap racing BUT with lapped cars in the way which would hand max the tile, it was checkmate for merc thanks to masi’s on the fly calls.
      Its Hard to enjoy the sport when stewards and masi make decisions based on if it benefits one driver over another

  17. The race protocol wasn’t followed.. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an appeal and they end with as the order was as of Lap 57.

    1. I think this could very well happen.

    2. I think Masi had it right in his comments to Toto … it’s called a motor race.

      1. Which justifies enforcing half a restart rule?

      2. Just for the record, you’re ok with the sport not following it’s own regs?

    3. Surely you’d have to restart the final lap? Otherwise the FIA’s “mistake” has just cost Max a shot at the title.

      I’d personally be amazed if they just handed the title to Lewis now….

    4. As one of the commentators (I think Brundle said, if they decide the race director got it wrong, what is the remedy? Pretty sure there’s nothing in the rules that says it goes back a lap…

  18. The driver of 2021 won the title. Hamilton classy in defeat, suffers misfortune right at the bitter end.

  19. Too dodgy as far as I’m concerned. I stayed neutral in the season and both are worthy but today felt like race fixing. I understand the desire to go racing but they said no lapped cars to overtake, then they reversed it but only allowed the cars between the contenders to go. Hamilton was very professional in defeat I think

  20. Internet will explode now.

    Despite wanting to see Verstappen snatch the title, this was a totally outrageous call and decisioning by Masi. The correct procedure behind the safety car was grossly ignored and subjugated to the imperative of “having a good show.” This was really farcical. I wouldn’t object had they decided for the red flag or had they allowed the lapped cars to unlap themselves and correctly assume their positions (and time wouldn’t probably allow for this), but all this was ignored just to have a sensational showdown between Hamilton and Verstappen. From a sporting perspective, this ignored every possible rule and the definition of the sport – well, as a sport.

    I hope there will be consequences of this decisioning, but knowing F1 as an immoral money machine, this might become the new standard in the halcyon days of Liberty.

    1. I cannot agree anymore with this comment. Guess the real winner today was the people running F1. They created this excitement today and at the very last lap which will possibly be elongated to the next season.

      1. i would applaud ham if he retired today right now, having an appropriate statement about masi’s decision, there is no reason left to race any more when racing is decided behind doors and not on track following the rules they made up as you go.

      2. They created this excitement today and at the very last lap which will possibly be elongated to the next season.

        I’m thinking the same. Massi has been bending the rules one way or another for most of the season in order to keep Max and Lewis as close as possible in the championship. And then he made all that irrelevant by making it a one lap shoot out for the title – with one guy on new softs and the other on 40 lap old hards. Looks dodgy to me. Are Netflix paying him (to make Drive to Survive more interesting)?

  21. First congrats to Max, he drive extremely well over the entire season. However, for this particular race, the best man came second. Can’t blame Max, but solely Masi and those guys he works with. Completely just bend the rules to make controversy for nothing. This just leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth honestly.!!!

    1. He (Masi) warned drivers of punishment should they do anything unsporting, but what he did at that last lap is the most bizarre decision he made all season, and I think in the history of the sport!!!

      1. Second that.

      2. The race should have ended under the safety car, it might have been an anti-climax but it would have been the correct decision based on the race up to that point.

        1. either ended in SC, or Red Flag it and let them race one final time 3 laps to go! unbelievable decision, follow the rule let them lapped car go, or dont let them go at all to have one lap without SC, let the drivers settle it! Only allow cars between max and ham pass and let the race begin? this is a new low, and i hope for once mercedes takes it into court to appeal it. clear racing rule has been ignored in the most blatant way possible for the sake of “SHOW” everywhere it would be seen game fixing, and punishable very harshly!

  22. And as predicted controversial FIA decisions dominate the championship.

    Despite everything, we have had the best F1 season in years.
    Which has made me a significantly happier F1 fan.

    Congrats to Max!

  23. The Latifi crash was a clear safety car and the race director always allows the lapped cars to pass the safety car (that’s how Hamilton got P2 in Imola).
    Bad luck for Hamilton, he was clearly the fastest today, but he was very lucky in the begging of the season.

    What would be a travesty would have been finishing the championship behind the safety car when there was enough time to remove the Williams and the debris (in fact they were pretty slow, in Monaco it would’ve taken just 1 lap)

    1. The problem is not allowing the lapped cars to unlap themselves, then allowing it only for a select number to do the same rather all lapped cars clearly contravening the rules!!

    2. Masi knew with 4 laps to go it would normally end behind the safety car. He could of red flagged it as happened in Baku.

      1. Yeah, this is the only other decision they could have made, then Hamilton would have had a sporting chance with new tires. Everything done by the stewards over turn the race up to that point.

  24. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    12th December 2021, 15:13

    Has anyone seen Latifi anywhere…:^)
    Wonder how he feels knowing it’s his crash that caused the snowball to start rolling

    1. The new Petrov ( a very anonymous driver). We will always remember him.

      1. And Glock….

        1. @petebaldwin my lawd, Glock is the worst in terms of controversy. He spends an entire season defending hard, all race defending hard, then lets Hamilton by at almost the very last second and says, “Oh, I didn’t want to interfere in the championship”.

          That’s literally what he did.

          1. Sorry Sir but this is just wrong. He did never race Hamilton wheel to wheel the whole Grand Prix and only got in front of him by not pitting for wets.
            Take a look what happened to Norris in Russia this year. You stand no chance and other’s just cruise past you. Btw his last laps were still faster than those of his teammate Trulli who also gambled on slicks
            He also never said he let Hamilton by because he didn’t want to interfere with the championship. So absolutely no conspiracy there…

          2. @roadrunner I believe you didn’t read my comment.

            I said Glock spend an entire season defending hard, all race defending hard. He never “just let Hamilton by” at any other point of the season.

          3. @neiana it is like saying mazepin raced ham hard all season, but only one race, he forfeited his race?

            glock didnt have a chance, he was ahead due to not pitting for right tyre, he was being overtaken left and right up to ham doing the same… there was no controversy. if you want controversy, watch the spa 08, only the closing stages, and tell with a straight face what a controversy looks like

          4. also for you flawed reasoning, glock was racing midfield all season bar a race or two, he didnt suddenly ended up where ended up!

          5. @mysticus Seems you didn’t watch that year. Of course he ended races in mid pack but he often was holding up eventual race-winners because they would always qualify light on fuel.

          6. @neiana
            “Seems you didn’t watch that year. Of course he ended races in mid pack but he often was holding up eventual race-winners because they would always qualify light on fuel.”

            makes total nonsense obviously coming from one sided fan… either he was not good at holding people up, or his team is bad at strategies on who they are racing with… people dont end up mid pack for no reason! either their car/driver is not up for task (see bottas, has good car, but somehow ends up mid pack)

            where is glock now? he was 2 season mid pack, then no man’s pack/field rest of his career….

            and finally here is for your entertainment: timos last lap on that race and he is watching lewis catching up on his steering wheel to time his slow looking fake lap… just to make you happy
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhH93grvh84

          7. @mysticus Once again, the only real assumption one can make is that you weren’t watching that season. Their cars were slow but they qualified well and stayed in front of people as long as possible, until they had to put and add fuel, which is when other drivers would pass.

            That’s…why…we…have…DRS.

          8. @neiana only real assumption here is that you have no fraking idea about racing let alone F1 thats confirmed now. still claiming glock cheated to allow ham, when the video and his career results show a clearer pic than your face on the mirror. Thats not why we have drs now! so stop making your version of reality the only version of facts, because you clearly lack any kind of understanding what is racing is about.

          9. @mysticus I never said he cheated, only that he chose not to fight Lewis when the entire rest of the season he fought everyone.

            And yes those races, those years were a driving force for DRS.

            It is absurd that you think someone’s career results suggest whether or not they were ever driving, on track, in a position to be in the way.

            It really shows you know nothing of racing.

          10. @neiana

            “It is absurd that you think someone’s career results suggest whether or not they were ever driving, on track, in a position to be in the way.”

            And here we are arguing your nonsensical obsession that he did give way for ham without a fight… you dont need to say he cheated but everything you imply he did, when i point to you that he didnt have a better career, than it is not his fault… what is the truth? like redbul rules are rules when applied in a way to benefit them only is fair….

            yeah that sums of the season like max said, rules are only good if it is applied to benefit them… otherwise they are not fair!

            for your silly remarks about people dont know when they dont agree to your tune, watch the damn video and see why glock couldnt fight for ham, or find and watch the whole race! but i doubt that you will choose to see the truth however hurtful it was.

            max is a worthy championship contender, but he didnt deserve it today the way the final absurd decision just like that spa this year made it to his way… argue all you want, but everyone including die heart fans agree the win is handed to max, he didnt take it nor deserved it in the way he was given…

        2. Shame on Timo for ever. Eternal fire and brimstone not bad enough for him. Did not make the slightest effort to defend in that fatal last corner.

  25. Only F1 could have 2 unbelievable drivers fighting each other and manage to shoot itself in the foot so badly. How can a sport which is essentially 20 cars driving around a track, screw up their officiating so badly. It’s just a Netflix entertainment show nowadays rather than a sport

  26. Crazy season could not have ended any other way. Just bonkers. You can’t really say either guy put a foot wrong and both were just on their best game today. A shame really we have different rules next year so we can’t have part two of this.

  27. What more could Hamilton have done today? Beat Verstappen off the start, drove beautifully and managed the race very well. Even when Merc didn’t pit under the VSC Hamilton saved his tyres and still had an 11 second advantage or so. Then Latifi has a shunt- and we are told lapped cars won’t be allowed to overtake, but race director overturns it, but only the ones between Verstappen and Hamilton and we’re racing again?

    I think Merc are taking this to court. And they may well have a solid legal argument to sue the FIA and nullify the result- but then the issue then becomes. If the result is overturned or nullified- what is the official result? Stuff like this leaves the credibility of the sport in absolute tatters. But maybe it isn’t a sport anymore and it’s a drama series.

    1. Nullify the result of this year; and VER is still the WDC is still a fine ending for this year.

      But, every team takes their chances based on the rules understood. The leading car chose not to pit — that’s their strategic call, as they felt there’s no time for the safety car to come in according to the procedure, so they expected the race to end under safety car. But, if the procedures are just changed, then the race director completely lost it. I am not sure if they can end the race as of Lap 57 (as the racing order under safety car), if they go to court.

    2. If you say the FIA made a mistake, you have to say “what should they have done instead?”

      If they followed the Baku precedent, it should have been a red flag and a re-start. On that basis, the only fair thing would be to get them all back out on track and run the final few laps….

      By ignoring the final lap and handing Lewis the title, the FIA’s mistake has robbed Red Bull of a chance to win the title which isn’t fair either.

      1. @petebaldwin

        Precisely the point.

        Also as @meck kindly pointed out- the legal issue here is all lapped cars not just the ones between Hamilton and Verstappen. Merc will argue that if you want to restart the race fine, but Max would have had to navigate the backmarkers and run out of laps, thereby also costing Lewis a chance to defend. Looking at the bigger picture this may well sink the sport as it goes beyond our partisan driver preferences. This is a proper can of worms min my view.

        1. The further point is that by the time ALL Lapped Cars clear the leaders the race would would have completed its 58 laps.

          There’s also the issue of the safety car slowing lewis so that he couldn’t keep his tires warm for that hot lap.

      2. A red flag would of been perfectly acceptable to ensure 3 or 4 more racing laps.

      3. @petebaldwin
        i cant believe you say this with a straight face, with fair and just feelings…
        By ignoring the final lap and handing Lewis the title, the FIA’s mistake has robbed Red Bull of a chance to win the title which isn’t fair either.

        are you serious? rules are not there to give someone a final chance at overtaking. you cant make up rules as you go, you have one rule saying either all of them (lapped cars) pass if it is safe, if not no overtaking! if you allow lapped cars pass, then you run the SC one more lap!

        The rule doesnt say if max is in the hunt, change the rule to only allow cars between him and lewis pass, and immediately start the race!

    3. @blazzz Nullify this race in its entirety due to poor officiating? Then what? What about last race, too?

      Either way, Max is still the champion and you make F1 look even worse.

      1. @neiana

        I have already addressed your questions in my responses above- ie it’s a can of worms.

        1. @blazzz truly.

          Barring the worms, I honestly feel that Max is the more deserving champion, as most-if-not all of his DNFs this season came at direct collision with Mercedes team drivers Bottas & Hamilton, and the penalties & dirty tactics were essentially neutral if we’re looking at the whole season. My view.

      2. F1 has made F1 look worse. They should pay the consequence of running a shoddy, rule bending, inconsistent series. It’s a joke and they deserve the bad rap. Why do you want to save them the perception they have created? For the benefit of the sport you say? What sport, I might ask? It’s become a sham like so many other things and who wants to watch rigged BS sports? I would be fine with either of these drivers winning the championship fairly, so my position is not based on bias for one or the other.

    4. What more? Drive a decent, simply competent last lap. Which he didn’t. Can’t race and depends only on FIA decisions to favor him. Well, this one was simply neutral. Just race. With the advantage for @44, starting ahead.

      Well, that was not enough advantage for you. A lap of clean racing but you were not good enough. Sorry. Next time, learn a bit. Can recommend you a nice driving school somewhere in Central Antarctica, Lew. You’re welcome.

      1. Let’s be clear: the advantage on the final lap was not Lewis’s. On 40 lap old hards you cannot defend against someone on brand new softs. It’s impossible. Especially when the guy behind wins if you crash. It was not a neutral final lap.

        Who should be champion is another matter. Even as Lewis fan, I think Max maybe deserved it this season. But that last lap was wrong and in the last 4 races Mercedes and Lewis have been untouchable. Don’t also forget that Max was gifted 5 points in Spa. If he had gone into that last lap five points down I am not sure he would have made it past Hamilton, because the onus would have been on him to avoid the collision.

  28. I can’t see any other course of action than Mercedes’ appealing this decision. The correct lapped car rules weren’t followed.

  29. Hugely disappointed for Hamilton as he put in a perfect race, didn’t mess him is Q2 mediums, started brilliantly, avoided being Verstappen’s lunge (controversial but the right decision I think), dealt with Perez well (where was Bottas? right: good decision Mercedes to sign Russell, thanks VB and bye-bye…) and then had the race sorted. Until…

    Until what? In the end, I kind of agree with Masi. It’s a race. I want to see racing as soon as it’s possible. I do think they either let all lapped cars past or none. But hey. Lewis got the run of luck in various races, Max had those DNFs not of his own making. In the end they were both worthy of being champion – and I say this now having seen that Max did, in the end, keep his racing within the limits of the acceptable, just.

    So well done Max, the latest and possibly set to be one of the greatest F1 champions. Alongside Lewis, who can be proud he gave it all and was better on the day. Just how it goes sometimes.

    1. @david-br

      Max had those DNFs not of his own making

      Indeed, they were specifically from Mercedes team drivers, Hamilton & Bottas.

    2. Hamilton as he put in a perfect race,

      Was that last, all-deciding, lap perfect? Seemed to me downright poor. Worthy of Nikita, #44 filled his shoes today.

      1. It was very, very good. Hamilton drove those hards absolutely brilliantly on the last lap.

        1. That was about as good as anyone in the world could have done without losing the rear end or shunting Max. He fought so hard and it wasnt unnoticed on me. Both these guys have my respect.

  30. I just wanted the best for F1, I just love the sport: the better man of the last race to win the race and the championship.
    VER was not the best on this race. He won because of an outside decision. F1 lost from this, gained nothing.

    I hated HAM (and maybe still am) in terms of I am a Ferrari fan. HOWEVER he was robbed of his championship, in a race he emphatically pointed out that he is better. Combined with Spa’s farce this is totally unacceptable. It is a DISGRACE for the sport.

    1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
      12th December 2021, 21:56

      He and bottas almost robbed max in Silverstone and Hungary. The whole sport has been rigged for Mercedes since 2014. Max redeemed it today

  31. Great job Max, deserved that championship. Clean driving from Lewis today, so no complaints. Mercedes deserve the constructors championship without doubt, they made the best car, hats off.

  32. Undeserved victory. Deserved Championship. Let’s not ever repeat a season like this again. Circus, not a sport

    1. well said.

  33. I’m sure there is going to be a court case about SC protocols and arguments about weaving on straights to ‘break the tow’, multiple drivers should be looked at for that. Irrespective, Congratulations to Max. Merc shot themselves in the foot not taking the opportunity to pit under VSC & RB strategists were given the upper hand. What a season. 2 guys consistently 2-4 seconds quicker than all other drivers. Kudos to both.

  34. FIA judged it wrong, in my opinion. With severe consequences. But the hype is with Max and… anything for the spectacle. So… let’s get on with it, it was a great season indeed. If only a championship could split in 2….

  35. To me, Brazil seemed to be the point where all went wrong. Had Stewards clarified their decisions, and told that these are clear rules, probably the issues might not have arisen. Last race, stewards tried to undo Brazil Damage, and it worked against Max, same for this morning too, when they again reverted to Brazil Spec rules. And the interpretation of rules for partial overtaking of lapped cars, and Safety Car ending on same lap instead of next lap was totally whimsical in my opinion.

  36. It is too bad the British fans, riled on by the perpetually aggressive British press (as is known all over the world), are trying to de-legitimize the result of the Championship with strange conspiracy theories. Reminds me of the Q-anon Trump fans that popped up after that supposed ‘stolen’ election.

    1. I don’t think there is a conspiracy (that’s mostly come from fans on the other side). I do think this is incompetence. The rules were not followed. It is, however, a fitting end to this season.

  37. Looking at the rules, I think Mercedes could win an appeal. Then what happens?
    Regardless, Masi is a disgrace. He needs to go. For the sake of the sport, Masi must go.
    Congratulations to Max abs Red Bull, what a season. They deserved to win it, but not like this.

    1. Agree Masi must go

  38. Congratulations to Verstappen. He’s a great driver who fought so hard for the title. Sometimes a bit too hard but that gave us a hell of a season to watch.
    Perez played a huge part today too. The 9 seconds he cost Hamilton meant he couldn’t pit without giving up track position.
    But questionable decisions again. Hamilton should have received a five seconds penalty and the decision to only let the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen was ridiculous. They should have dropped the red flag immediately or follow the usual safety car procedure. You cannot change rules mid race just because you want the title to be decided on track.

  39. I hope Mercedes take this up officially. They were cheated out of a win today.

  40. The trouble is Merc could, possibly quite correctly, challenge this. They would probably win which would mean the WDC is decided in a FIA tribunal. This would be disastrous publicity for the sport and all of today’s celebrations and congratulations would be for nothing.

    I am sure Merc will be actively seeking Masi’s removal.

  41. It seemed to me Massi had no choice but to keep the lapped cars between VER and HAM, but then a phone call from Liberty came…

    A deserved title for Max as it would have been for Lewis, but the race win, not so much.

    Merc was again uncatchable, even on 40 lap old tires, it was about time to shuffle the cards with new car design.

  42. The problem I have with the end of the race & the problem I have with the officiating in general recently is that it’s starting to feel a bit like things are been made up as we are going along & that certain decisions are been made more for the benefit of the show rather than the integrity of the sport.

    Today for example Michael Masi saying lapped cars won’t be allowed to overtake only to then apparently change his mind (After lobbying from Red Bull which i’ll get to) & only let the lapped cars that were between Lewis & Max past creates the feeling that things are been made up on the spot which isn’t a good look.

    And getting back to the ‘lobbying’ i’m actually starting to hate that we can hear the communications between the teams & the race director because a lot of this politicking we are now hearing really isn’t helping things as it opens up the narrative that decisions are been made because of lobbying which just isn’t a good look. I know that this stuff was happening before we could hear it & would continue to even if we couldn’t but the fact we do hear it now is creating certain narratives which I don’t feel are helpful.

    We need a race director & a panel of stewards who has the respect & trust of not just the competitors but also the fans with a set of racing regulations that are easy to understand & applied consistently & fairly. And a process that is open/transparent & explained in a way to help us understand why decisions are made. Right now we don’t have that & that to me is a big problem.

    1. Fully agree 100% with this and have commented as much elsewhere.

      is that it’s starting to feel a bit like things are been made up as we are going along & that certain decisions are been made more for the benefit of the show rather than the integrity of the sport

      Yep, it sure does seem like that and I agree, they need to stop this communication between teams and the race director. Further, they need an efficient appeals process after the race. If this goes to court it will take months and even as a Lewis fan I don’t want to deprive Max of his first title like this.

      I do hope Mercedes appeal, but not with a view to changing the outcome, but with a view to getting an acknowledgement that what happened was wrong, but can’t be undone.

  43. MM: Go ahead, Toto.
    TW: You need to reinstate the lap before. That’s not right.
    MM: Toto?
    TW: Yes.
    MM: It’s called a motor race, okay?
    TW: Sorry?
    MM: We went car racing.

    Take that Toto, he’s been a disgrace over the last few races. If only he was as magnanimous as his lead driver.

    1. The survival of Toto is direct proof that there is not such thing as divine justice and providence

    2. Brave words from Masi, that’s how you lead. Not crying, sniffling and smashing headphones into a desk!

      A decision had to be made in a few seconds and one team was going to benefit, the other not. Ultimately it finished under racing conditions with both drivers having a chance, which is infinitely better than an empty safety car win.

      Merc need to man up and accept it and realise how fortunate they’ve been over the previous last six/seven years to win everything unchallenged.

    3. maybe Masi is the right person for the job after all, perfect response

  44. Congratulations to Max, but i think F1 has moved into the scripted mode that other ‘sport’ like the WWE and other formats conjured up by american entertainment companies follow. There are a lot of factors at play here, not least of which, is that it immediately ensures enough headlines and controversy to keep the F1 brand visible till the next season starts. The F1 bosses have clearly instructed the FIA to do whatever they can to ensure that the season ends on an incredible high for a neutral or for someone who casually tunes in for the final race. It’s also cold hard reality that Max is younger, and will carry this ‘franchise’ for the next 10 years at the very least. But i can’t escape the feeling that when up against a really hard-nosed competitor like Horner & Co., Toto and Merc come off as incredibly naive and whingey far too often. Yes, track position was important, but why would you bet against Lewis and a stronger package on fresh tyres. Obviously you cannot legislate for the FIA batting for the other side, who’s to say they would’nt have elected to end the race behind the SC if Lewis had pitted. I am crushed that they chose to end it this way. It just does not feel right.

    On Max,I personally believe he was driving on another level the entire season against a Hamilton in imperious form. That Jeddah quali lap for me, was like watching the senna monaco lap. You could feel the crash coming, but you also felt that you were lucky to be watching something special live. That alone was enough for me to say that Max deserved to at least be in the fight if not win it.

    Lewis-where do i start, to be so calm and sporting after having that done to you, in my books he’s already an 8 time winner. All is not lost, if Merc manage to keep their wits together after this and produce a similarly awesome car, i am sure he will win the next one.

    I really hope that Merc lodge a protest since this has descended into a farce anyway. Also, Nicholas Latifi’s contribution to F1 has peaked, he might as well retire now.

    1. I’m so glad you mentioned the “American” sports, like NBA, NHL, NFL, Indycar, NASCAR. The last time I remember Indycar having anything this crazy was when Scott Goodyear passed the pace car coming to green and he was penalized, letting Jacques Villenueve win the race. The last time I recall the NBA being this incahoots was the 2002 Western Conference Semifinals when the refs tried so, so hard, and eventually ensured the Lakers won the championship. The last time I remember NASCAR being this controversial is whenever Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch cry like babies (usually once a month) but eh, that’s actually in the rules.

      1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
        12th December 2021, 22:00

        Nascar is beyond repair mate

  45. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    12th December 2021, 15:30

    The thing is even if FIA and Masi accept their mistake, it will be a HUGE HUGE PR disaster after all that partying and shenanigans which took place after the flag, not to mention they even had an official podium ceremony and officiating Max as the new WDC on social media and whatnot. So they can’t just go and say “uh sorry guys we messed up, Lewis is the champion.” My guess is Merc will be compensated (if at all) either in cash or kind (some leniency next year?) Ferrari style, and the results will stay the way they are.

    Oh and the price for the Merc engine in the Williams just doubled.

    1. @asleepatthewheel

      So they can’t just go and say “uh sorry guys we messed up, Lewis is the champion.”

      Sure you can

  46. After Silverstone I kind of decided I was done with the sport but turns out I still ended up watching most of the season. At the time I didn’t expect that Silverstone would be nowhere near the most controversial race of the season. Belgium, Saudi Arabia and now this. While I understand that this was good for the show, and I do believe Max was slightly better driver if we look at the whole season, this was just a completely ridiculous way to decide the title. Also, please get rid of this track or at least remove it from the final race spot. Without the last lap it would have been very underwhelming, and now it turned out to be the complete opposite for all the wrong reasons.

  47. I have no doubt that, even if Hamilton had been told to hand that place back at the beginning, Max would have made the place back through sheer determination and having the ability to do the opposite of Max through the pit decisions.

    Max didn’t hold the racing line and didn’t leave a car’s width when he threw himself down the inside of Lewis and forced him off the track. However, Lewis was a lot further ahead after that corner so he should have been told to drop back a bit to reduce the gains Lewis made by cutting the corner at full speed.

    I think it’s disgusting that Checo was told to purposely hold Hamilton back by driving erratically and taking unusual lines. That’s not very sporting. Lewis knew that Checo could have wiped them both out and that would have suited Red Bull so Lewis had to be careful around him.

    As for the rejigging of the rules right at the end, that was odd. Either you let them all passed as per the rules or let none of them passed as per the rules. Doing a half-arsed combination isn’t by the rules so I can understand why Mercedes are annoyed.

    However, both Max and Lewis were very tightly matched through the whole season or Max wouldn’t have been able to have won. Normally Lewis has enough points to have won the season 2 or 3 races before.

    Max is a good driver but Lewis is a good racer. Red Bull just had a better car for the middle of the season to allow Max to get enough headroom so Lewis couldn’t catch up.

    1. I think it’s disgusting that Checo was told to purposely hold Hamilton back by driving erratically and taking unusual lines.

      Were you also disgusted when Bottas was doing the exact same thing to Vettel and Raikkonen in 2017/2018 and in the last race when he slowed Verstappen in the pitlane ?

  48. Too much drama! Not decided by a crash between the 2 drivers was a good thing, but the inconsistent ruling continued with decisions that seemed made up at the spot.
    It was good they tried to finish with a racing lap instead of under the SC but that first decision “cars will not overtake” and then deciding only some cars would overtake it’s very weird.

    In the end it created lots of drama and they can say that this seasons was decided in the last lap. True but a shame that it was so weird.
    Maybe the “important new” fans will love it.

    I wanted Max to win but it did leave a sour taste…

  49. This season as been a gift for real F1 fans. Thanks to VER and HAM, they have made this sport great.

    1. @interpaul I completely disagree. It should have been a gift for the real fans of the sport, with 2 phenomenal drivers battling in machinery on average equal in performance, but other things have ruined it. This session had been a gift for more casual fans who want excitement and drama, but for the real fans this season has been a disgrace. Inconsistency is a polite and understated way of describing the officiating. F1 has never had much consistency, but this year it’s been worse than ever before.

      I’m just left feeling deflated and stunned. If F1 continues like this, I don’t know if I will want to continue watching it.

      1. Well, after 18 seasons following F1, I’ve already assumed thats this other things that ruin the sport are intrinsic to F1, such as the sixth and seventh concorde agreements, that established an horrendous inequality among teams that spoiled the competition for almost a decade. Therefore, at least for me, this season has been the most delightful one since 2012.

  50. Toto’s revolting bad sportsmanship and general behaviour at the end does not reflect well on the Mercedes brand.

    1. Why what’s he done?

      No heard anything from him.

      1. Refused to shake hands with Max or Horner or anyone from Red Bull….Lewis was gracious, everyone was gracious in defeat, but Toto called in the lawyers and sulked. They won the constructor’s championship and have dominated this sport for years and years on end, throwing way more money than anyone else at the sport, but they cant be gracious in defeat. Just bitter and angry.

  51. I love Formula 1, and am a Hamilton fan.

    I will continue watching it, but from now it is not a sport for me, but a form of entertainment.
    I will always remember that 2021 season changed that for me.

    Congratulations to Max.

  52. If you are a TRUE Formula 1 fan, regardless of who or which team you support, you will agree that what happened today was just not right!

    Unfortunately many things this season were not right, and it is (in my opinion) not unreasonable to come to the conclusion that M Massi’s goal this season was to do whatever possible to get a new WDC – in this case M Verstappen.

    To be clear, I am a supporter of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, but PRIMARILY I am a fan of clean and fair Formula 1 racing as a sport.

    1. @stubbornswiss What you say really depends. If you are PRIMARILY a fan of clean and fair Formula 1 racing as a sport, then your support of Lewis and Mercedes would’ve taken a back seat to Hamilton putting Max out of a race.

    2. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
      12th December 2021, 15:47

      @stubbornswiss, me too. I can’t see any justification for what the FIA did today.

    3. Yes, Hamilton should’ve been given a 5 seconds penalty for cutting the corner and gaining advantage.
      If you are a TRUE Formula 1 fan, you will agree that races shouldn’t be won outside of the track.

  53. It worth appealing. This wasn’t decided by the better team on the day but with the FIA.

    If they closed out the race to the letter of the rule book, Hamilton and Mercedes win both championships. This way it’s split between them.
    Over the course of the season, I’d say Max edges it, just, on being more consistent plus he has had the better package this time and realised the potential.

    But I still can’t help but think something is amiss.

    Perez retired, does anyone know what for?

  54. Justice in the end.

  55. Lost in all this is Lewis reaction time a whole tenth quicker than Ves that is unheard of he was nearly in false start territory how quick he started. Hamilton had to avoid roadblocks all day Perez who they said was racing made Ves gain 5 seconds in 1 lap. Even the most avid Ves fan can admit one driver kept his cool these last 4 races and did everything he can. Vestappen is a worthy champion but to win it like that will never happen again.

  56. To me Max will always just be a paper Champion.

    1. If he is, then most of Hams championships are also paper thin. At least Max had to fight for it in the second fastest car unlike Hams cruises in his rocketship.

  57. Watching the entire race to the end, I have questions about Race Control allowing lapped cars to go ahead of the safety car before resuming racing. When the yellow light appeared, aren’t all positions frozen and anyone pitting taking their position in line (not moving up) upon entry to the race course while under yellow conditions? Race Control changing rules? For all intents and purposes, LH was leading with cars between him and MV when the yellow came out. Allowing those cars to go ahead of the safety car appears as changing rules allowing MV to move up to second position when prior to yellow he was already behind several cars before the yellow came out. Did I miss something or is this a sudden rule change that goes against standing rules? Please spare me the technical rules and simplify it in layman’s terms.

  58. It’s not going down well in the USA. To quote CNN: “Verstappen was allowed to start almost side-by-side with Hamilton, despite the Brit having established a healthy lead with just four laps remaining.”

    Does anyone know why only the cars between Hamilton & Verstappen were allowed to unlap themselves, and not all the other lapped cars? The regulations say the Race Director may choose whether to allow lapped cars to unlap, but I read that as all or none, not just those which get the desired result.

    1. CNN is a BS clickity net-rag, anyway, especially given the fact the part you quoted shows just how false their “news” truly is. “…almost side-by-side…” l. o. l.

      1. It’s not quite the US version of the Daily Fail but they are not an authority for motor sports. But the fact that they are reporting on this dust up at all is kind if sad for F1 because F1 gets such little coverage that it sucks when the coverage is negative. Yesterday I heard NPR report the title battle with the lede “road rage at 200 miles per hour.”

    2. Masi ran out of time to think.. and just wanted the race to not end under the safety car. That’s what would/should have happened, if they followed protocol.

  59. Congratulations to Max but what a farce. Dragging through the courts I feel is unlikely but might provide some impetus to sort out the rules and application. If this were any other race it feels like it would have ended under the safety car. A red flag and restart would have been uncontroversial and fairer for all sides. I’m sure it’s hard to make these decisions in the heat of the moment but this just gives fuel to conspiracy theories and controversy.

  60. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord

  61. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
    12th December 2021, 15:45

    Hated that ending. Either you give time to allow cars to unlap and there’s no racing, or you skip that step and rely on Verstappen passing the backmarkers under blue flags. The FIA just handed the title to Verstappen in an unprecedented manner.

  62. Great comment from Rosberg, who rightly pointed out the Merc will have not risked pitting on the assumption of a safety car last lap – which of course would have happened if all cars allowed to unlap.

    I’m not into Massi baiting, but he’s in serious trouble here. He had three other choices as follows;-

    1) Red flag immediately – Controversial but fairer as then both can change tyres
    2) Do the usual – Lapped cars allow to unlap themselves, which of course means a safety car finish
    3) Don’t allow any lapped cars to overtake – So they could race for the last lap.

    He’s been far too smart for his own good – something we’ve seen before. So what if the WDC ends up behind a safety car? Changing the rules is just wrong

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 15:49

      Excellent comment.

    2. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
      12th December 2021, 16:01

      @banbrorace Well said.

    3. Yes had three options well within the rules. But he made up a new rule! His comment that it’s called motor racing or whatever will haunt him.

      1. Yeah, fully agree with this.

  63. I think that having access to the communications with race control is not helping anyone. It creates the impression of decisions being made after lobbying egg doesn’t help anyone

  64. Why did RB mysteriously retire Checo???

    1. Do cars that get retired still have to pass the end of race scrutineering?

      1. It would have been one less car to unlap.

        1. Did not think of that. This man F1s.

    2. Where was he amongst the lapped cars when he came out?

  65. Merc have lodged a protest.More fuel for Netflix then

  66. Season in a nutshell
    best driver leads from lap 1 but rule bending FIA lets dirty team to win

  67. Kimberley Barrass
    12th December 2021, 15:50

    The protests are in – two my mercedes – seems cut and dry in terms of the regulations – but I can’t imagine the FIA would want to change the result now.

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 15:56

      I really, really hope they don’t – but demaning an explanation is quite right. If the rules had been applied, Ham would have won. Even the other drivers are confused and they will need clarity, else it could turn into a farce very quickly, if race directors can literally make it up as they go along.

    2. It’s be interesting.

      After all it’s a bit of a slam dunk. If that rule is correctly enacted, they’d have been a safety car end.

      Very easy to say that rule was applied wrong as, that ends the race.

  68. On the basis of Verstappen’s overall performance this season, I think he is a worthy World Champion. However, Masi’s repeated inconsistencies and poor communications mean he should resign or be removed by the FIA. Masi’s race direction at the end of today’s grand prix was nothing less than a manipulation of the race and, by extension, the 2021 world championship. I am left with a foul taste in my mouth.

  69. Just watching the Perez interview – he looks a little sad at the result, odd?
    He basically implied that this season wasn’t normal. You’re right there!

    1. He is an awesome racer but realized he is the #2 racer and Max’s wingman. Bottas never minded that role but other racers don’t want to spend their career there.

    2. @theswift well, if he became a racer to race, then he should be sad cause this was a fixed match… You can’t watch and like this result.

  70. The more I hear about this the more I think Massi is in big trouble.

  71. If Mercedes pits Hamilton we would see a race finish under yellow if Max was in front. Mercedes was never going to win.

  72. First I have to say that Max with his shady antics and all was an amazing driver this year and made a championship performance.

    I also see that a Masi showed his whole behind today. It certainly looks like he basically caved to Horner loud-talking him about not letting cars past to save time to restart the race to basically invent a new procedure to help RBR even more than just restarting with one lap and lapped cars between. And when Toto called him out he got real saucy and really not his usual calm self which was kind of a tell to me that he felt truly exposed. Letting only the cars between the top two pass the SC is not a thing. He just made that up to fulfill his vision of what “motor racing” was supposed to be. He should have either let none by or let the race end under SC.

  73. Disgusting result. Masi constant melding in the 2021 season killed the spectacle of F1, I have no doubt if merc pitted Lewis and max stayed out it would be sc until the end of the race handing max the wdc..

    I have said this ALL season on this site complaining about liberty media pushing for “nascar style ” drama with questionable calls from masi that always goes rb’s way, is it it red? vsc? full safety car? Depends what mood Michael is in and if it benefits rb…Saudi race masi waited a full 5 minutes after Schumacher crashed to red flag the race and give max who stayed out a free tyre change which penalized Lewis who pitted under sc for fresh rubber.
    The same goes for this race .
    This is the first time ever lapped cars on a dry track have not been given ANY time to go to the back of the pack as it looked like the stewards was doing everything possible to give max who was on brand new softs a lap to challenge lewis on worn hards. Obviously masi didn’t want to restart with lapped cars in the way of max and Lewis because that would give Lewis breathing room. Again i am all for the spectacle of F1 but it does feel like the end was fixed to give max/rb the best chance of winning.

    Totos radio summed up the pathetic season that will be smeared by masi and his artificial meddling in the race.

    1. I have no doubt

      As if it proves anything

    2. At least Yuki looked feisty today

  74. What a complete nightmare for the sport, it’s the worst decision ever to be seen, how can Masi fold under pressure to finish the race and in doing so bend the safety car rules?

    Feel sorry for Lewis and his team I’m sure if Masi had of said earlier it will be a one lap race they would have pitted him, as they had nothing to lose, let’s hope for the sport this gets looked at correctly and Masi sacked for incompetence.

  75. Masi rules that no cars would be allowed to unlap until he got a tap on his shoulder and reversed the decision and ended the safety car simultaneously. That is why the appeal has merit.

  76. Good to see the standard of the comments here are exactly as expected…

    I’m not passing overall judgement yet because its very complex. Potentially something has gone wrong here. But anyone who genuinely believes that race directors or stewards are ever doing anything to favour any one team or driver is an imbecile. That’s patently absurd and anybody over the age of 5 should recognise that. You can criticise the decisions made on their potential procedural misconduct, but it’s potentially a sincere, good faith (but still unacceptable) stuff-up in the pursuit of giving us a racing finale. It was done for nobody but ‘the race’ and ‘us’ as the fans.

    Also, especially if neutral, this is drama. It’s good. I will never get (and for me it says everything about the person in question) why people will get so passionate about this as to be like, viscerally angry. It’s sport. It doesn’t matter. We watch it for fun and entertainment and literally the entire change in philosophy that has adjusted things this year has been for entertainment.

    If your heart is not racing and adrenaline not pumping reflecting on what was clearly the greatest season of all time and the most dramatic finish of all time, then you really should stop watching F1, because you’re not actually ‘a fan’ and are miserable and just trying to have a bad time.

    I’m not saying you need to agree with what happened. You can think it was the wrong call. But you personally didn’t get screwed out of anything. You got drama and entertainment. Mercedes maybe got screwed. You didn’t. But there is no such thing as bad publicity in commercial terms. This year and this day has been and remains captivating and amazing.

    1. So… you’re trying to gatekeep people’s fandom by criticising them for caring. Good luck with that.

      Masi hurriedly cherry-picked from the rulebook to pair 2 of the 19 drivers together on-track at the expense of the rest of the grid (Danny Ric was effectively running in 3rd place because he wasn’t allowed to unlap himself for eg). Because he’d run out of time to apply the rules correctly, he just decided not to – that’s callous and inept, regardless of who you root for, and funnily enough that infuriates people who were hoping, and expecting, to see a sporting contest and got a soap opera instead.

      This was a great season marred by terrible officiating and a desire to interfere with the ‘show’ – it got the ending it deserved, and we’re all the poorer for it.

    2. Careful, your bias is showing.

    3. Total Nonsense. How long have you followed F1?

  77. Masi: we put you 2 positions back. Ok. No that is behind Lewis. Ok? That is three positions, wait… we accept.

  78. Poor Perez, he was retired to allow Max to be closer to Lewis :)
    what a dirty rat smelling season and even worse finish…

    1. What are you talking about? Nobody likes sacrificing their own chances for someone else, but having watched Bottas be used like a wingman for years now, and be unspirited at it, I would interpret Perez performance as if he actually cared about the outcome – to me that says something about the difference in genuine team spirit between the two camps.

      1. come on, we must be watching different F1 then.
        When your finishing position is sacrificed for robbing Lewis a fastest lap point constantly, when you car is being retired on the last lap to give Max space closer to Lewis etc… No other team ever allowed such trickery, well, maybe Briatore with deliberate order to crash… but it’s close, same league of dirty tricks… Bottas would honestly thank the team for being uber honest with him comparing to Perez….

  79. Masi clearly has broken the rules. If this stands then we have not only the wrong champion but the whole of F1 racing has been discredited and made a fools game by Masi and his behaviour. However much experience he might have he is obviously not attained constancy in applying the rules and his decision cannot be trusted.

  80. If I were Hamilton I would walk away. In any other race that would have finished behind a safety car. At any other point in the race burner procedure would have been followed for lapped cars.

    I can’t even begin to imagine how robbed the guy must feel and were it me, I’d take my hundreds of millions, profile, life story rights and just walk away.

    1. Got racism? Hamilton will still get his eighth before retiring.

    2. #plasticchampion.

  81. Mercedes failed to pit hamilton under (v)sc twice, and threw away the championship. Like so many times this season they botched it on strategy.

    1. It was the correct call at the time. Pitting under the VSC would have put him behind Max and having to pass on track, as Max wouldn’t have pitted. They knew Max would be unlikely to be able to catch him on track, even with new tyres, so without hindsight it was the right call.

      Pitting under the SC would have been an even worse call without hindsight. There was every chance that the race would end under the safety car, which would mean Hamilton would be giving up the win.

  82. Well what a race.

    Stewards inacted Max out of P1, then Massi acted him back in to P1..

    All while Mercedes yet again were tactically unimaginable and inferior to Red Bull. Granted Red Bull had nothing to loose.

    Had Lewis pitted under the VSC, I believe they would have had it.

    Last call was ok without hindsight.

    Overall, this is a fair result, considering Max was better this season overall, but either way there would be scandal.

    Stewards and race director left them to race it out.. In Hollywood fashion.. Just two drivers with different cars and tires, battling for WDC over a lap.

    Lewis still had a lot of fight in him and I don’t think he can feel bad about anything regarding this season, as in the end he did everything just right this race.

    Offcorse racing gods and race scenarist-director favoured someone else.

    1. Except the initial decision was to not unlap cars and race like “men.” But that would have been too much for Max.

      1. Situations change in F1. You have to just deal with it

  83. Does anybody remember years ago, you could buy a t-shirt emblazoned with the caption “WANTED FOR CRIMES AGAINST F1” against a picture of Max Moseley? Wonder if there’s a Michael Masi t-shirt I could buy?

    1. I will buy for sure me too

  84. I think the way race control handled the safety car was quite messy. Am I going to use that to delegitimize this season’s championship? Of course not
    Because if they followed the correct procedure (allowing all lapped cars to unlap promptly) we will still have the same result

    The only thing that needs to be taken note is that next time a similar scenario happens is to allow lapped cars to go through immediately, especially if it’s a place like Yas where’s there tons of runoff and tarmac the drivers can take to avoid the accident scene. Today was a mistake that shouldn’t happen again

    1. Because if they followed the correct procedure (allowing all lapped cars to unlap promptly) we will still have the same result

      The race would have ended under the safety car if he’d allowed all lapped cars past and correctly followed the procedure, because the safety car must come in at the end of the following lap. That would have led to Hamilton winning.

      The only way to get a racing lap in by the rules was to restart without letting lapped cars through, which would have gone against all precedent but would at least have been within the rules. I reckon Max would still have won, even having to get past the backmarkers, as they have been blue flagged and Max had a massive tyre advantage.

  85. Very first year I’ve been sad to have racing ( any racing in the world) end for a month and a half. Rolex 24 is around the corner and then Daytona 500 but this F1 fight couldve gone on for another few weeks if I had my way. Too much controversy but it’s what makes racing racing. Anyone that isn’t happy is obviously a fan of a driver and that’s noble and understanding as well, we have emotions and win and lose with our drivers. All I can hope for is a season that is half as exciting as this one was in 2022. It was extremely emotional and exhausting and beautiful all at the same time. As Chase Elliott once said, to all my hardcore race fans who are just like me, have a happy Christmas and a Merry offseason. See you soon!!!

  86. I’m a die hard Lewis fan, but first of all an F1 addicted, and F1 is all for me. Losing a race like today as Lewis fan will hurt forever, like I enjoyed 2008 win, and even a post race victory for me will not the same of winning on track, but if FIA admits his fault I’ll enjoy forever as F1 lover, because sport MUST win on show, and also today they manipulated rules for create a fake show. Michael Masi MUST BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY! Is an absolute joke how he change the rules 3 times in a year, A JOKE! Rules are rules.

  87. So Lewis had won the race , Max was 10 seconds behind with no chance of winning . And forever that is how I will see it. If I where Mercedes and If it wasn’t so unfair to all the team I’d withdraw from F1 it is a farce.

    1. And by the way fizzy drinks makers do not have a reputation of making the finest motor cars ;they are free to carry on .

  88. Not picking sides here. Mercedes may protest but the result won’t be overturned. You can’t erase the show we’ve seen, how bad would that look on F1! Mercedes and Red Bull have both pushed the sporting limits this season as have the drivers. There’s many things that F1 needs to look at to improve over the off season. Race director lobbying, red flag rules, track limits, rules of engagement. Overall clarity. I’m sure we can all agree on that.

    Whoever you support, what a great show this season has been. Long overdue. An epic contest. Thanks to Keith and the team for the excellent content as always. Merry Christmas to everyone.

    1. This nails is.

    2. Unfortunately some don’t want a show in the form of entertainment they want a show with the regulations being followed correctly.
      Whatever happens now is seen as sour grapes by MB. In other action sports that cannot be stopped to review anything it is allowed for protests afterward to decide the result.

      1. That sums it up, new fans don’t care for the rules – DTS “we’re going to be Nascar, bring it y’all!”.

        Sad.

        1. F1 made Nascar look totally legit this year.

    3. yeah next time Mercedes should race on tank with a gun, for the SHOW and screw the rules!

    4. So basically Formula 1 is now a “show”, and no longer a sport?

      Okay… I can accept that. But let the powers that be in the sport just come out and say so, so that we the fans at least understand what we are watching.

  89. Rule 15.3 The clerk of the course shall work in permanent consultation with the Race Director. The Race Director shall have overriding authority in the following matters and the clerk of the course may give orders in respect of them only with his express agreement:

    Sub E: The use of the safety car

    1. So l’etat c’est moi?

  90. Simple rule changes (1) For run off areas….all you need is paint, both wheels in Green area = fine. One wheel in orange area =drive through. One wheel in red area = 10 sec stop and go. (2) Stop teams contacting race director or stewards.

  91. I think not even most hard core Hamilton partisans want to see him win the title in a hearing room.

    But Masi should answer for himself. I’ve generally felt that most of the criticism against him this year has been bacially partisan and even thought he handled Jeddah more or less OK (which he had to do beciase of how he messed up Brazil of course). But today he acted, as we say in US administrative law, in a manner arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law.

    ESPN is saying he “appeared to buckle.” I dont know if he really got frit after Horners message but if impartial media are like, looks sus, then it’s just bad for the sport. And it’s not like he had an unprecedented or weird set of facts. The rules account for all of this.

    1. This. The most important thing is to make sure this kind of farce never happens again. I don’t think it ever would have under Charlie.

  92. Congrats to Verstappen for winning this. As far as I am concerned he did the best he could and never blinked no matter if it was FIA, Hamilton, Bottas or technically even his own team against him. He deserves by far having this year’s championship.

    Congrats to Hamilton for keeping it to the end. If he wants to be remembered for good, perhaps winning this championship would have been a mistake. It’s such a mess from regulations and racing standpoint compounded with the dirty games of his team and a few ugly moves of his own. It’s not a sport at all, it’s just an orchestrated show like the … what they called it … WWE?. So in a way he got very lucky (as perhaps smart) as usual not to get this one.

    The Merc guys completely threw themselves under the bus. It looks like they are quite happy to point faults in other cars, but at the same time completely bended the rules themselves only on the premises that something cannot be tested properly. No difference to what Ferrari did a few years ago. It just begs the question how much remained uncaught and are their 8 consecutive titles really clean?! After seeing all this I personally lost my respect for that team.

    Going forward, if there are any legal actions they must include the rest of the races – especially Silverstone, Monza and a couple of others that should be reviewed as well. I doubt there will be a change of the results in the court, but there will be consequences and that’s for good.

    I am also not on the opinion that it’s Masi’s fault. In the first place, he is given a bunch of virtual circuits with no natural track limits as proper for a World championship. They are good for the kindergarten, but not for F1. He is also clearly tasked to keep the show up, so the decisions are taken based on keep the racing going on but not on what’s right or wrong. Next year and maybe the whole decade will not be different with the over-regulated technical and sporting rules coming down to pre-designed cars with very little opportunities for organic development and innovation.

    The Show Must Go On

    1. Well spoke. Nacho

  93. No, he’s not the champion! Lewis wiped the floor with him!

  94. Congrats MAX VERSTAPPEN! The best driver won in the end, yes he got lucky there but it got balanced with the sheer amounts of it that went against him.

    You were born to win this and that to against one of the greatest in an absolute intense year. You deserve this mate.

  95. Let’s be clear here how the rules favoured RB only.

    Sainz , Yuki, Gasly, Bottas could not have an opportunity to attack Max for P2

    wait for it ……. because a lapped car was in between! Danny Ric!

    FIA artificially created a 1lap dash to favor one driver.

  96. All most of us wanted was a fair result on track. Michael Masi crowning Max after Lewis comprehensively won the race, fastest car, laps, better start, just better, full stop. Sad and shocking. Masi has ignored the sporting regs. Result cannot stand.

    1. @salty The sport needs a new series. This was terrible. It’s the worst thing that could happen to the sport.

      Porsche won’t touch F1.
      Audi won’t touch F1.
      Honda is leaving and won’t touch it again as they know that this was the result of cheating.
      BMW won’t touch F1.
      Mercedes will probably leave in 5 years tops, once Wollf folds. He’s going to be fighting the Mercedes board from now on who’ll want to pull out of F1.
      Red Bull is not likely to stay in it for long. I doubt Mateschitz is happy watching this unfold unless he doesn’t like motorsport and wants fixed results.
      No American manufacturer would ever want to have a team there.

      An unmitigated disaster.

  97. Okay, here’s my conclusion about today’s events.

    My initial reaction was that it was totally farcical, artificial entertainment and that Hamilton had been absolutely robbed. And I stand by that; only letting the lapped cars through that were between Hamilton and Verstappen was totally unfair. Yes, their battle is the most important, but it shouldn’t be seen that way by the stewards, so that was artificially created entertainment on the final lap, and I do not like that in Formula 1.

    However, while the decision by the stewards showed their intentions, if they had let all the lapped cars through the outcome would have been the same, so I think we can really just put it down to awful, awful luck for Mercedes. With the situation as it was, Hamilton was leading from Verstappen, who was always going to do the opposite in regards to a pitstop. Mercedes chose to stay out, which ultimately was the wrong decision, and it cost them the championship, but if they had pitted Hamilton and the race had not been restarted, they would have looked absolutely ridiculous. Essentially, Mercedes had to choose their strategy based, not only on how quickly Latifi’s car could be recovered, but how much Masi was willing to have a race on the final lap. The first part is mainly down to luck, but at least it is not entirely, but in terms of the second part, there was nothing they could have done to pre-empt that. So I don’t think Mercedes made a mistake in not pitting, I think they were just extremely unlucky. Red Bull won this race by being the team behind with nothing to lose, and I don’t like that as a championship conclusion. So, in summary, Max Verstappen won that championship through pot luck, although, admittedly, Hamilton could have defended better on the restart. However, over the entire season, he and Red Bull have had far more bad luck, so I am okay with Verstappen as the Drivers’ Champion. But if we only consider today, Mercedes and Hamilton deserved the championship and were robbed through no fault of their own.
    I think it was an fitting end to the season. Tremendous excitement, but highly controversial. In the end the championship was decided on a lottery. Incredible excitement, but too NASCAR.

    1. @f1frog. I agree it’s not Mercedes’ fault at all. They bet that according to the procedures: (a) the lapped cars are allowed to unlap only after it is deemed safe, which needs to wait till the car in accident is cleared; (b) the safety car is supposed to come in the following lap; (c) they anticipated that the race won’t restart by following the procedures. It did take until lap 57 for Masi to announce whether the lapped cars can overtake or not; except that he decided not to follow through with the full procedure and changed it.

      If HAM had pitted and VER stayed out and they did this, I would still complain saying that they should follow procedures. The point of writing down these procedures is that people can make decisions. If you are going to throw in human beings acting irrationally in a time-critical manner, I might as well roll the dice and call a winner.

      It’s not luck if a human being is calling the shots. Engine/Tire/Gearbox failing — those are bad luck; and the timing of the accident was lucky for VER for sure. But, the human’s decision of not following rules and making an exception for the last race — that’s not luck. That’s just manipulation of the situation to influence the outcome.

      Wasn’t it Masi who said the penalty is proportional to the mistake; not the outcome. In this case, why not follow normal procedures, why change it just because it’s final.. and championship deciding. That should not influence what procedure we follow or not.

      On that note, was Perez’s car inspected after they retired? It’s pretty odd that they chose to retire the car from P3.

      1. @macademianut
        In regards to Perez, I suspect they were fearful of a sudden power unit failure, and knew that if that happened the safety car would be extended and Verstappen wouldn’t have his final lap to attack. So they brought him in to not risk it.

    2. “if they had let all the lapped cars through the outcome would have been the same”
      No, if they had let all the lapped cars through, the race would have ended with the safety car.

      There are only two organic scenarios here:;
      1. They let all lapped cars through, race ends in safety car, Hamilton becomes champ.
      2. They do not let all lapped cars through, there would be one lap remaining, Verstappen would have to pass all lapped cars through under blue flags. I think Verstappen would still have a high probability of winning and being champ. It’s also a better show.

      But for some reason, Masi chose an artificial, contrived drama.

  98. Mercedes act like they lost the WCC while Red Bull act like they won the WCC.

  99. Total Nonsense. How long have you followed F1?

  100. Hi all,
    Could somebody please explain something.
    How is it that a Virtual Safety Car wasn’t deployed (as opposed to a regular Safety Car) to allow Hamilton’s 11 second lead to remain intact ?
    And hence Hamilton wins easily.
    All the best,
    Matt.

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