Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2021

Verstappen’s Abu Dhabi win and title thrown in doubt as Mercedes lodge two protests

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Mercedes have launched two protests following a controversial end to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which saw Max Verstappen deny Lewis Hamilton the world championship with a last-lap pass following a Safety Car period.

The stewards have summoned team representatives for both Lewis Hamilton and new champion Verstappen, with the reason given being a protest by Mercedes “against car 33 [Verstappen], alleged breach of Article 48.8 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations”.

Article 48.8 states:

“With the exception of the cases listed under a) to h) below, no driver may overtake another car on the track, including the safety car, until he passes the Line (see Article 5.3) for the first time after the safety car has returned to the pits.

The exceptions are:
a) If a driver is signalled to do so from the safety car.
b) Under Articles 41.1c), 48.12, 51.6 and 51.12 below.
c) When entering the pits a driver may pass another car remaining on the track, including the safety car, after he has reached the first safety car line.
d) When leaving the pits a driver may overtake, or be overtaken by, another car on the track before he reaches the second safety car line.
e) When the safety car is returning to the pits it may be overtaken by cars on the track once it has reached the first safety car line.
f) Whilst in the pit entry, pit lane or pit exit a driver may overtake another car which is also in one of these three areas.
g) Any car stopping in its designated garage area whilst the safety car is using the pit lane (see Article 48.11 below) may be overtaken.
h) If any car slows with an obvious problem.”

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Shortly before the restart, prior to the final lap of the race, leader Hamilton backed up the pace as much as possible and Verstappen’s front wing was alongside the leader’s front wheels as they passed beneath the W Hotel in the final sector.

Mercedes are also protesting “against the classification established at the end of the competition, alleged breach of Article 48.12 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations” which describes how race control can determine who may un-lap themselves during a safety car period.

Shortly before the race resumed, race control decided the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen on track could pass the Safety Car. Those behind Verstappen were not permitted to do so.

The penultimate paragraph of Article 48.12 begins: “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.”

After describing how those cars must drive safely after un-lapping themselves, the paragraph concludes with “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”.

Upon lodging the protests, Mercedes put out their own statement.

“We lodged a formal protest within the required 30 minute time window after the end of the race,” it read. “We will not make any further comment on the detail of that until the hearing has been conducted.”

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    Ida Wood
    Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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    324 comments on “Verstappen’s Abu Dhabi win and title thrown in doubt as Mercedes lodge two protests”

    1. Toto, just take the L and go back to Austria to destroy some furniture and headphones. Your strategy was utter garbage, and Lewis knows it.

      1. It was a calculated strategy.. as following the protocol would have finished the race under safety car.

        1. No, Merc had no idea how fast would Lattifi´s car taken away from the track. But they had little choice – pitting would mean giving track position to Verstappen with few laps to go, with possibility that there would eventually be red flag (Verstappen would swap hards for softs and gain track position just like in Jeddah) or that the race would not be restarted (Verstappen winning under SC).

          It was clear had they risked all the above and pitted, Red Bull would naturally risk it and keep Verstappen on the track. So Mercedes couldn´t really do anything in this case. They were passengers, just as was Hamilton on the last lap.

          1. They should had pitted Lewis before under VSC.

            1. And Lewis should had turned in on turn 5 on the last lap. It would have resulted in a penalty for Max.

            2. They had two opportunities to pit under VSC.

              During the first lap under VSC or during the second. Verstappen pitted during the first, and Giovanazzi car was already removed on the second lap of VSC just as Hamilton was coming to pit entry area. VSC period ended just as Hamilton was on the start-finish straight so had he pitted on the second lap of VSC he would have lost out lead to Verstappen who managed to complete the pitstop entirely under VSC, Hamilton would only make it partially under VSC and partially under racing conditions.

              Pitting on the first lap of VSC was also not really an option. It would give Verstappen track position (and Red Bull had better straight line speed than Mercedes + Verstappen could afford to make all out risks unlike Hamilton who must have finished the race in the first place).

        2. Tactics are not what’s in question here, it’s the integrity and fairness of the sport and goes far beyond this race, this year. If this blatantly unfair result is upheld it will forever be a black mark against the sport and the beginning of the end of its tenuous popularity in the motor sports arena. A 10+ second race lead after fifty-one of fifty-five laps, erased by a minor accident and other obvious advantages given to his competitor in this race make it a mockery of fairness.

          1. I understand it is an extremely dissappointing result, but calling a car going into the wall, with the car still standing on the track a minor accident is a bit of a joke don’t you think?

            1. Linda Gutteridge
              13th December 2021, 10:49

              The way the race was ended on the last lap was a sham in Abu Dhabi, went entirely against the rules, Massi should be ashamed of himself. All the lapped cars should have been allowed to pass the safety car, that is the rule and should have been followed. Also the safety car should have done one more lap before going in, that is the other rule. It is a disgrace and Verstappen’s championship is tarnished forever. Lewis was the real winner of that race, he is the true Champion.

      2. Strategy was spot on… massi messed it up..

        I still feel lap 1 turn 5 karma had its say here..
        But yes, for the sake of the future, this better get clarified right now and here.

        LH should just keep quiet till that gets sorted and say after that he just will fight on next year.

        But this sh show has to be clarified

        1. This is the one thing I didn’t want to happen. We decide it in the stewards room.

          1. I agree. I am not happy with what happened today. Masi messed up. But I do not want to see a championship being decided in the stewards room. Max is champion, leave it at that.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if Toto is getting a telephone call right at this moment from Stuttgart, telling him to stop damaging the reputation of the silver arrows and cease what he is doing immediately.

            1. Kimberley Barrass
              12th December 2021, 16:52

              The head of Mercedes group was at the race – can’t imagine it went ahead without his say so!?

      3. Can we just have a sprint race between the two to settle it? Theyre in Abu Dhabi for the test anyway. Give them free parts, and one final sprint. This is not how it should be decided. The FIA will not overrule the stewards, they would lose massive credibility if they did. This is not the finale the sport deserved.

        1. The stewards were nothing to do with the restart, they don’t have the power to order cars to overtake or not. The FiA made that decision.

          1. Not the FIA but Masi. Four laps to go with Hamilton 10+ seconds ahead of Verstappen and widening the lead with every lap. The Williams crash, safety car three lap intervention, and elimination of Verstappen lapped car impediment result, advantage Verstappen? How can this amount of blatant race fixing be allowed to stand? No racing fan will tolerate such a blatantly unfair race result.

            1. I mean, sure not everyone in the FiA, but you can’t get more of a prominent position in the organisation than Michael Masi. If he doesn’t represent them then no-one does!

      4. Their strategy was based on the rules they are protesting were broken! They were sure the race was going to end under a safety car given what the rules say. Therefore bringing Lewis in would have meant that if max stayed out he would be guaranteed to win the race. As it was red bull had nothing to lose by bringing in max once Lewis went past the pits. Then it should have simply been a case of either race with the back markers in place or let them all unlap themselves. You can’t just let the once between Hamilton and max go past and leave the others in place as that is against the regulations. Also the safety car was not allowed to come in that lap either.

        On top of that max clearly looked like he overtook Lewis briefly under the safety car which again is against the rules.

        Unlike some rules in F1 these ones are black and white and not therefore open to interpretation.

        Massi said he did not want the title decided by race control but this is precisely what happened. The fair (and correct by the rules) way to finish the race was under the safety car.

      5. Please stop this nonsense.
        Max was hit twice by Mercedes this year, and you still arguing he is not deserved to be champion?

      6. Strategy is not really the issue.
        It is always difficult for leaders to lap tail enders during a race BUT when you lead a race that is one of the obstacles that you have to overcome.
        Lewis did just that and Verstappen found himself trailing Lewis with 5 cars in between himself and number 44 when the Safety Car was released and backed up the pack.
        Verstappen took advantage of the Safety Car and entered the pit lane for another tyre change which is fair by the rules.
        HOWEVER for the stewards to remove the slower lapped cars from the racing duo was totally unfair and should never have stood!
        All of the work that Hamilton had done to pass the tail enders was worth nothing and Verstappen was then found himself with only Lewis between he and the chequered flag. What am I saying…….. Verstappen wasn’t even behind Lewis he was directly along side of car 44 and possible in front at one point!!!!
        Lewis is in the minds of so many people the 8 times World Champion.
        Verstappen will without doubt take the crown quite a few times in the future and probably fairly not like 2021!!

    2. Sour grapes from Mercedes. This will not achieve anything other than stoking up more resentment amongst their “fans.” Let’s just put the acrimony to bed and celebrate the crowning of a deserving new champion.

      1. well, sticking to the rules should also apply for race control. to me it seems the rules were breached on purpose to get a spectacular finish. and therefore i hope the appeal succeeds.

        1. [corrections]

          This isn’t sour grapes.

          Mercedes made a decision based on those rules. They calculated the time left and the likelihood of the race being completed based on those rules being followed.

          The bottom line is the race should have ended under SC, with the exception being a redflag.
          Now they find the stewards can make up their own rules , or choose to ignore the existing rules.

          This is far from sour grapes.

          What is the point of rules, and laws, and courts, and due process if some kind find ways around them.
          We might as well bring back the mob, or the cartels, or the old boys networks, or dare i say it,
          a.i acting on metadata.

          1. Sacha Gortchakoff
            12th December 2021, 17:31

            “should have ended under SC”
            Now was this a mandatory ruling, following the rule book, or is there some room ?

            1. According to Autosport;
              “This clause suggests that with the lapped car message having come out on lap 57, then the restart could only come at the end of the ‘following lap’- so lap 58, which was the end of the race.”

            2. No room for movement at all. Either the race could have proceeded with the unlapped cars in place or they could let them unlap themselves. If they were to unlap themselves there was no way under the rules for the race to restart before the final corner as the safety car can only be order in to the pits after the last unlapped car has past it and then they have to complete another lap after that before it can actually come in. (This is to make sure the now unlapped cars are clear of the leaders and have a chance to catch the back of the pack.

              It is very clear and is not open to interpretation.

        2. And then what? Lewis crowned champion?

      2. This isn’t sour grapes.

        Mercedes made a decision based on those rules. They calculated the time left and the likelihood of the race being completed based on those rules being followed.

        The bottom line is the race should have ended under SC, with the exception being a redflag.
        Now the find there stewards can make up their own rules , or choose to ignore the existing rules.

        This is far from sour grapes.

        What is the point of rules, and laws, and courts, and due process if some kind find ways around them.
        We might as well bring back the mob, or the cartels, or the old boys networks, or dare i say it,
        a.i acting on metadata.

        1. “Made a decision based on those rules” just points to their hubris. Where in the rule book does it say it takes 5 whole laps to clear the track for a safety car? That’s an awfully big assumption on their part, if that’s what you’re saying.

          Toto can go sleep in his bed made of money next to his eight constructors trophies for all I care.

          1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
            12th December 2021, 16:48

            Jealous, much?

            1. Of course! Who wouldn’t be?

        2. Even if race control got it wrong (and I’m sure there is provision in the ISC that the race director’s decision on these matters is final), what would the remedy be for Mercedes? I don’t think they can just count back the classification or whatever. So it doesn’t seem like there is anything in this protest other than a chance to get all self-righteous.

          The overtaking under SC thing is more of a factual question – Verstappen was certainly close to passing Hamilton even if he didn’t actually get his nose ahead – but there was no question of his gaining any lasting advantage, so going by the lap 1 precedent there can be no penalty.

          All in all, a bit pointless from Mercedes.

      3. I’ve always known that ending the race under a safety car is not what you want to do. If that race had ended under a safety car it would have looked pretty bad for F1, there were 5 laps of time to clear that Williams.

        Also letting the lapped cars overtake was the right decision, I’ve never seen lapped cars not getting out of the way in dry conditions. I think the race direction did the best they could, it’s just bad luck for Lewis. They should have come in for fresh rubber and pass Verstappen on track. They didn’t, so they had to know that the risk was always there. They let them have a lap of racing and Max made it stick.

        And a quick question, if Lewis had gotten new rubber and lost track position and then race ended under safety car conditions, handing Max the title what would all those shouting right now would say?

        Bottom line, Lewis was the better driver today, but luck wasn’t on his side. It has been though in many occasions before, so I guess “you win some, you lose some”. It’s just that this one was so damn important.

        1. @afonic but the rule very clearly states that if lapped cars are let past the safety car, the safety car then comes in on the following lap. Not on the same lap. So, to have the last lap be a racing lap, the lapped cars should have stayed where they were, and then the safety car could have come in when it did without breaching any rules.

          1. @harrydymond yes I believe that this was mentioned on Sky’s coverage as well. I was not aware of that rule. My point is that we always want to see a race end under green flag conditions, so I guess they had to let the lapped cars overtake sooner.

            I guess race control was in an impossible situation. It was a lose – lose situation for them, no matter what they decided somebody would not be happy. Ending the race under the safety car is probably more fair for the race result as Lewis was dominating but would look really incompetent and anti-climatic. In hindsight, a red flag would have been the best decision.

            1. we did, and LH was 11 secs ahead with 6 laps to go till the safety car, if the rules was followed it’ll have finished that way too.

            2. @afonic I don’t see it as an “impossible” situation at all. Masi should know what the rules are, and apply them. He had a choice:

              1. Allow the lapped cars to pass the safety car, but then the rules very clearly state the safety car comes in on the following lap.
              2. Keep cars in their current order, and bring the safety car in to give one final green lap.

              Option 2 is the only one that gives you a final racing lap, so that’s what he should have done. Instead, he made up his own rule. How can this possibly be allowed to stand? (unless of course, there is a sporting reg. somewhere that essentially says “the race director can make up their own rules as the race unfolds in order to maximise the spectacle and drama”). It’s rediculous.

            3. @harrydymond not getting the lapped cars out of the way would be wrong. In all the years I’ve watched F1 the restart in dry conditions they always do that.

              I’m not sure if the rule that states that the safety car should do another lap is mandatory, if it is Mercedes have a case here. If it’s more of a suggestion, race direction could argue that they wanted to give them a final lap of racing. The race direction has had some flexibility in these areas before, in the name of safety.

            4. Knowing it was so close to the end Masi should have red flagged it, brought the cars into the pit lane, do the unlapping, and let Hamilton put on new tyres, the same as Verstappen did in a previous race.

            5. @losif

              Well I sort of agree. The cars should have been let past. However that was not what happened. Not all the cars were let past… The rule regarding when the sc is to enter the pits is clear and its purpose is to let the unlapped cars catch up to the pack and to get them out of the way of the leaders. It is not optional under the rules.

        2. not all lapped cars was allowed to over take, only those between LH and MV, they also didnt do the mandatory lap behind the safety car once those lapped cars had been given permissions to unlapped them selfs, so two main sporting regualtions broken, not by a team, but by the race director, who clearly changed the out come of the race which would have finished behind the safety car. this result will be changed one way or another, either by stewards now, or by lawyer in the court of sport arbitration who will rule in favour of the rules thus ending the race as LH leader.

          1. I expect the result will end up standing (because they cannot undo Masi making that error), and Mercedes will sue the FIA for tens of millions.

            1. A figure somewhere between $100m – $200m compensation to Mercedes F1 would go half way to the sponsor losses etc, with Masi quietly let go by the FIA, should do it – otherwise Mercedes will easily win in any independent court of arbitration – Probably this will be done behind closed doors with binding confidentiality clauses, but MV/Red Bull keep title. Masi gets a multi million hush payout/ Golden Goodbye – honour is restored sort of..The QC’s would love to see this go to court but in the end no one wins from litigation, least of all F1. In Future no team leader like Horner or Wolf should be allowed to manipulate the clerk of the course in real time…

          2. Linda Gutteridge
            13th December 2021, 11:40

            Mosin, At last, someone with some sense , your exactly right, poor Lewis, he should be Champion. Max has a world championship tainted with this mess forever now. Masi has alot to answer for, he needs to resign.

        3. They should’ve red flagged the race.

          Drivers go to the pits and have their tyres changed. Race is restarted from the grid and we have a proper head to head for several laps instead of a new soft-tyre shod Verstappen hunting the knackered hard-tyre shod Hamilton.

          Anyway, I don’t think the race result should be changed regardless of whether there is any validity to Mercedes’ claims. It would be terrible for the sport.

          What the FIA does need to do is hold its hand up and accept that it must do better next season.

          1. That would mean sacking Masi.

          2. Given the lap count and wall damage I thought for sure it was going to be a red flag.

          3. I think the current result is also terrible for the sport. It looks like the race director manipulated the race! That is a worse look than correcting an error. Other sports do have changes of champion based in protest in of the rules. In fact F1 has changed race results many times after a race…

      4. Bet you weren’t saying that after Silverstone, when Horner was on the edge of accusing Hamilton of deliberately trying to kill Verstappen.

      5. I see you’re going for the ‘just get over it’ road @red-andy. Mercedes are entitled to protest, just like Red Bull did at Silverstone. Masi lost control yet again, let’s be honest here Max isn’t going to lose the championship we all know that but they have a right to protest especially as the second one is written plainly in the sporting regulations. Don’t you think the race director should know these regulations pretty well?

        1. @john-h As I said above in response to someone else, I don’t see what Mercedes can possibly gain from this protest as there is no legally permitted remedy that would change the race result.

          As well as the F1 sporting regulations, Masi will also be familiar with the International Sporting Code which says the race director has “overriding authority” regarding the use of the safety car.

        2. The regulations allow some cars to pass the safety car, not all, and for the safety car to pit immediately. It’s never been done before but it is allowed under the regulations.

    3. The fact is that Hamilton would’ve won the championship, if the stewards and the race control had followed the rules. Whether this will change the outcome is another thing. But I can totally understand why Mercedes is protesting.

      1. I think there have been situations before not all lapped cars have overtook the leader under safety car, I vaguely remember some car having radio trouble. Does anyone remember that?

        1. @afonic
          I’m not sure about that, but according to the rules the SC shouldn’t have entered the pits on the same laps as the lapped cars were allowed to overtake:
          “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”

          1. Thats only if the sc orders all lapped cars to overtake, that didn’t happen.

      2. Well, they also could have allowed the lapped cars to unlap themselves like 4 laps before the end, not with 2 laps to go. So, Masi played it in Mercedes’ favour by allowing this controversy and doubt over VER’s champ.

      3. Imo they’re right on both accounts. Both situations were appalling to me.

      4. Just to point out that this was nothing to do with the stewards. It was the decision of the race director only.

    4. I really hope it doesn’t change anything. Winning a championship off track by the stewards would be unpleasant.

      1. They can nullify the result of Abu Dhabi and VER can still be the WDC.

        1. Couldn’t they reduce the race by a lap? Which would change the result.

      2. @rocketpanda which is more unpleasant though – that, or a situation where race control has not obeyed their own rules and managed to bring their own championship into disrepute?

        The instruction is that, once lapped cars are told to overtake, all lapped cars are meant to overtake – and we know that, out of the eight lapped cars, three (Ricciardo, Stroll and Schumacher) were not allowed to overtake, with only those cars between Hamilton and Verstappen instructed to unlap themselves.

        By allowing the cars ahead of them, but denying those three drivers the option of being able to unlap themselves, they were effectively denied the opportunity to try and improve their position and possibly compete for a point. There is no option for race control to only allow a few cars through – it’s either all cars or no cars, not an arbitrary number of cars.

        Secondly, as noted in the article, the safety car cannot be withdrawn at the same time as cars are told to unlap themselves – it has to be the following lap at the earliest. With the safety car out there on lap 57, it should have stayed out there until lap 58 – the safety car should not be arbitrarily withdrawn earlier “for spectacle”.

      3. Does the manipulation of a race result and the breaking of rules by race control not already look terrible for the sport?

        Admitting a mistake and rectifying the result is the right thing to do both morally and for the look of the sport.

    5. Are you sure it won’t achieve anything? The lapped cars claim is quite worrying.

      1. Why, because there was ACTUALLY rules, once?

        1. Masi made a mess for sure, I just think that on balance across this year this gave back a bit to verstappen, while still not equalising the luck overall.

    6. Mercedes wins their protest, the race is called the last lap before the restart.

      Red Bull protests the first lap incident and Hamilton is given 5 seconds for gaining an advantage.

      Verstappen stays world champion.

      1. There’s a time limit to lodge a protest, and it’s passed. Besides which, they would need new evidence as it already was referred to the stewards.

        1. Article said they filed within the required 30 minutes.

          1. Will Jones is talking about RBR making a protest to the first lap incident. Merc have protested within the time limit but if successful, RBR can’t then throw a counter-protest out for the lap 1 incident as the timeframe for protest has passed

          2. I was talking about the theoretical Red Bull protest from lap 1 – unless you’re telling me rb did protest that after the race?

      2. They couldn’t “protest” the first lap incident, because they’d seen it and in their judgment it didn’t warrant viewing – no rule breaking in that.

        The restart is a slam dunk.

    7. We don’t want to step over the line. We don’t want this championship to be decided by stewards’ decisions and to end up in the appeal courts or elsewhere, it must end up on the track in Abu Dhabi with the best driver winning.
      – Ross Brawn 07 December 2021

      Well that didn’t age well, and the worst (best) part is, they have no driver or team to blame, just their own incompetence.

      Wonder how they will PR themselves out of this one.

      1. @skipgamer in his defense, Ross Brawn works for Formula 1. It’s the FIA that have created all this mess.

      2. My wife would have killed me for this “kiss of death” comment. He did set it up somewhat..!

      3. It seems like Masi forgot to take his sensible pill this morning.

      4. hehe, agreed!

    8. lol, kind of inevitable really

      It will feel a bit tainted either way now, no fault of the drivers of course, classic F1!

      to all those people tuning in for the first time, they had to make sure to show them what f1 is really all about: Elite driving, world class engineering and weirdly incompetent management.

    9. JUST FOLLOW, THE RULES. End of.

      1. Exactly.. the procedures are put in place because for these kind of things you don’t have to use your brain. If you wanted to use the brain, Masi should have red-flagged the race. That smartness he did not have.

      2. Right they had two legitimate options.

        They could have brought out a red flag. That would have allowed them to clear the crash and resume racing.

        They could have finished the race under safety car. It would have been completely fair and legitimate given the circumstances.

        What they did instead was created decision as bogus as when Prost crashed Senna.

        1. And consider how perfect the red flag event would have been. Hamilton and Verstappen both on fresh soft tires Verstappen behind with the advantage of a crash favoring him. It would have been amazing.

          But instead they did what they’ve done all season – Make an enormous mess.

        2. top tier comment m8

    10. Mercedes is right doing this.

    11. Mercedes double world champions I believe they are

    12. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
      12th December 2021, 16:05

      Can’t blame Mercedes, the FIA threw precedent out the window. I doubt they’ll get anywhere, but that was a shocking decision.

      1. Even if it’s unlikely that this protest will see them overturn the results of the race, let’s hope it prompts the higher-ups at the FIA to reconsider the role played by their F1 staff, from Masi to the stewards.

        1. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
          12th December 2021, 16:30

          MichaelN, that’s the truth, the stewarding has been shocking. The FIA needs to redesign stewarding from first principles, the whole thing of amateur stewards and local representatives isn’t working. As having Masi so susceptible to lobbying is pathetic, let’s have someone with a backbone.

      2. If the situation were reversed you can bet Redbull would be doing the same.

      3. + 1 I doubt the decision will be overturned but FIA really need to urgently review the decision making in F1. Masi’s lack of clarity and last minute change of mind is the cause of this. Then in general the stewarding this year has been at best, inconsistent.

    13. On an unrelated note. Massive respect to Rosberg – an actual race driver.

      1. I’ve really enjoyed his punditry

      2. yeah, always nice to get his insight nowadays

    14. This is stupid. I wonder how will this be settled? This is no longer by stewards. I think this should be already in court rather than just at the stewards. This is a huge decision and case. Talk about a way to end the championship. This is just horible and distasteful to see.

      1. On another note, why did not Masi just red flag the race, and then put a standing start on? That would have been a lot fairer. Allow Lewis to change tyres, Max also, and then one lap to decide everything? Or even two?

        1. @krichelle The barriers didn’t need to be fixed so there was no need for red flag. Yes it would have been fairer for title fight, but free switching of tires would’ve ruined others’ races down the back.

        2. This is the proverbial $64,000 question that no-one sitting at home can fathom.

        3. @krichelle The race cannot* be red-flagged unless, as per 50.1, “Competitors or officials are placed in immediate physical danger by cars running on the track, and the clerk of the course deems circumstances are such that the track cannot be negotiated safely, even behind the safety car”. (emphasis added)

          Despite what Liberty might want, the red flag cannot be used for entertainment purposes.

          *The asterisk here supposing that the FIA actually understands their own rules, which they never really have (this didn’t start with Masi, but he also hasn’t improved things).

          1. No problem. It is allowed to brake the rules if it will benefit Mercedes or Lewis.

            1. Erikje your man has benefitted from the FIA massively lately. Firstly not getting disqualified for an obvious brake test. Secondly this farce at the end of the race, and still you claim Mercedes and Lewis are only allowed to brake the rules. You are no Max fan in my eyes, it’s people like you that actually taint him as I’m sure he has manyany reasonable fans out there, Indeed I know some of them.

          2. Yes, the irony of trying to explain the situation with FIA rules… A fool’s errand.

          3. The thing is this is 100% subjective:

            the clerk of the course deems circumstances are such that the track cannot be negotiated safely, even behind the safety car”

            So they indeed could’ve red flagged the race. Would it have felt fabricated? Absolutely, just as Baku was. The alternative they took, or more precisely how they handled the lapped cars/safety car situation was blatantly against their own rules.

    15. And then red bull can protest Lewis keeping his place off track on lap 1, and things will be the same.

      People slag off horner, and rightfully so, but wolff is just as bad.

      If Hamilton wins he can remember he only won through dirty driving and crying

      1. I understand you are fed up with the politics of F1 and especially the lobbying of the top two teams with the FIA/stewards – just as I am, but you should distinguish two separate issues.

        Hamilton´s driving this year was very clear & clean, and off track as well.

      2. you mean they could? RBR must have protested within 30 minutes, thats gone

      3. Jeff, dont think Lewis is a dirty driver. Incident at turn 1 is subject to interpretation (remember Brazil?) but written rules are the law and cannot be changed by the race director in negotiation with one team as Masi/Horner did. Today Masi just proved he’s got a job way beyond his intellect. Best solution would be to fine his employers/donate to Lewis charities.

    16. The first one is a bit of a joke, Max went alongside Hamilton under the hotel after the SC went off, but he didn’t pass him, even if he was ahead momentarily.

      However the second one seems to be horrendous decision making on Masi’s end, not all the lapped cars were ordered to overtake the field, only the ones between Hamilton and Verstappen, plus they didn’t wait an extra lap after overtaking. I would be surprised tho if the FIA changed the results based on this (although wronged party will definitely take this to court), but Masi just can’t keep his position after such a race altering mistake. His decision and reasoning to red flag the race in Baku was ridiculous in ymy opinion, but if he used it there to give us a race, he absolutely should have used it here as well due to percedent. He has got to go.

      1. I agree, Masi needs to resign immediately. How is it possible that he doesn’t know what the rules under the SC are? The other possibility is that he decided to ignore the rules on purpose, which is even worse.

        1. Masi was called by Horner who asked for that one lap.

          Micheal “I’ll see what i can do” Masi came up with this, as the only way to get that one lap.

          His decision making wasn’t based on an independent interpretation of the rules, but based on the preassure placed on him. There’s a cognitive bias for this, and i think he succums to it.

          1. Exactly.

            Lewis would’ve won the championship if not for Masi’s illegal intervention, so how on Earth can the result stand?

      2. I’ve been giving this guy the benefit of the doubt all year, but this time he has absolutely and royally screwed up. Hard rules were ignored (perhaps he didn’t know them?), and I feel his only way out this time is to resign. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t.

        1. I’m the same. I’ve defended him in the past, but his position is no longer viable.

      3. I have to agree on Masi, the culture of F1 seems to have changed under him and not for the better. How often did we hear Charlie getting involved? Masi seems to have lost the respect of most and can’t keep a handle on Toto & Christian. It seems he’s playing some kind of ‘king maker’ role (not purposefully I’m sure), but we could easily go more than a year or two without Charlie ever featuring, to the point you forgot he was even there. We never seem to be able to complete a race without Masi’s involvement now.

        1. @bernasaurus I think Charlie got involved as often as Masi has been, we always heard radio messages from the drivers to their teams or viceversa saying “You have to tell Charlie” or “we’ve notified this to Charlie”, we just weren’t privy to the radio communications between teams and the FIA as we’ve been this year.

          I also think Charlie didn’t succumb to pressure from any team, or at least not to the extent that Masi has.

          1. @warheart yeah I think you’re right with Charlie, but we certainly didn’t the amount of controversy we get now. Perhaps the FIA could stop the Race Directors communications going out on the live feed. That probably made Charlie’s job a bit easier.

    17. No chance, how could you alter the result? Even if the result was null and void Max would still win the championship with more wins.

      1. Isn’t it possible to give a 5 sec penalty example?

        1. For what, drawing level?

          1. Yes, or weaving, but that’s not the most worrying, I think the most worrying is going back 1 lap due to not all lapped cars overtaking.

            1. That’s what I mean, the lapped cars. I can’t see how you could penalise Verstappen particularly for that. Regardless, surely Masi needs to go.

        2. If the procedures are found to be in breach lf the rules, how would you penalize Verstappen? He had nothing to do with that.

      2. You could retrospectively apply the rules as they should have been done.

        That would mean a safety card ending.

        It’s actually very black and white. I agree if there were two laps remaining then that would be artificially altering the result.

      3. Ah, yes, there’s also the “going back 1 lap” that could happen because of the lapped cars.

        1. Phwooar! In a series of dodgy decisions that would be an even more dodgy way to settle a championship.

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          12th December 2021, 16:46

          And then Red Bull could say a mistake by the FIA cost them the title. It would be equally unfair. The only fair option is to run the final few laps again from a standing start but that’s not possible.

      4. In the case of the second protest (safety car rules), it’s quite clear that if they’d been implemented properly that the race would have finished behind the safety car and the positions as they were before the restart should be classified as result.

        As for the first, I don’t think they’ll do anything as it was hardly an overtake.

      5. Remember folks this isn’t just about the world championship, or even driver’s title.

        This is about the difference in prize money. We are talking millions.

        If it can shown the stewards or the FIA did not follow due process, Mercedes can sue them,
        in the same way the FIA can impose fines when the constructors break those same rules.

        1. Also Redbull stand to benifit from the advertising etc which results from this percieved win.
          Assuming any promotion by them doesn’t backfire to leave a nasty taste.

          eg “Redbull gives you ….” cheats.

        2. Prize money is distributed by WCC standings, so this doesn’t change anything in that regard.

      6. @jackisthestig

        how could you alter the result?

        See Belgium 2008.

    18. He he, I’m glad I’m not but if I was Mercedes f1 team fan I would be embarrassed right now.

      1. Why?

        It’s a very black and white rule that Massi ignored.

        No-one would have been able to protest if he’s allowed all lapped cars to unlap or not allowed any to.

    19. I think the protest about Max overtaking might be a stretch – when watching live I did wonder if he had “overtaken” Lewis, but the camera angle was such that it wasn’t possible to draw a firm conclusion on that. However, I don’t see how anyone can reasonably argue that this rule was not breached:
      “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

      Clearly, the race directly totally stuffed this up. Either, he could have brought the safety car in when he did, but without the lapped cars going past, or, the lapped cars go past but the safety car goes around another lap (as per the very clearly stated rule above), and the race ends behind the safety car.

      What I don’t know is whether there’s another sporting regulation somewhere else that can serve as a “get out of jail free” card for Masi, that essentially allows him to do whatever he likes.

      If the rules haven’t been applied properly, what happens to the race classification?

      1. Oof! “race directly” should be “race director”, obvs.

    20. LH fan – Masi’s call was very lucky for Max and I understand why. Final lap show down. I suspect things will stay as they are. However Merc has a point, if you are going to let some lapped cars through, you need to let all through. People are fighting for position across the field. I don’t recall any racing series let just part of the field go around.

      Max’s restart was questionable, driving up and beside LH should not be acceptable at the restart.

      I think the FIA has some serious off season work to do. I don’t think Masi is acting in malice but his application of rules raises some valid questions.

      In the end, I suspect things will stay as they are.

      1. Whether all the lapped cars are let through, or just a subset, it doesn’t change the very clearly stated rule that the safety car then comes in a lap after that. Not on the same lap as happened here.

      2. Im surprise Mercedes didn’t call the stewards and ask for a redflag. Since they are clearly prone to suggestion. Or did they?

    21. And I was thinking RB and Merc would have split the bill on the 3 hotel rooms – who ever lost would be allowed to destroy them!

    22. They have no choice as the rules need to be clear for next season.

      1. This.

        If the rules are not applied in this case, the result is that the whole rulebook can be thrown out as rules are clearly allowed to made on the go. As much as controversial rulings we’ve had this year, most (if not at all) could be argued either or. In this case, however, it’s really black and white, no argument.

        Having said that, I still don’t think anything will happen as it would be too controversial. They’ve really put themselves in the crapbox.

      2. The thing is the rules are clear @jimfromus in the sporting regulations for safety cars and unlapped cars, and Masi decided not to follow them but instead do exactly what Horner told him to do.

        This is probably going to the FIA International Court of Appeal. They’ve made a horrible mess in retaining Masi, we’ve been saying that on this site since I think Mugello and now this farce.

    23. The replay’s are damming – RB / VER continue to break (as per evidence) the rules. Just my take.

      As I said before – we had rules.

    24. In a interview before the race, toto stated ” let the best one win, and not by the stewards”.
      Pinokkio seems te have a very bad memory.

      1. Yes, wolff is a liar, pure and simple.

      2. Well arguably Masi decided the race and championship outcome. It was inevitable Verstappen would win. The question is whether he applied the rules correctly or made them up arbitrarily. Still, even then, I don’t see how this easily resolvable. A real shame he bottled the ending like this.

        1. Obviously masi’s reputation is probably even worse now, I just felt like this controversial decision re-balanced the earlier luck on the season a bit (14-15 points, not even 40).

        2. Linda Gutteridge
          13th December 2021, 11:25


          Masi did not apply the rules correctly, the rules state all lapped cars should have been allowed to pass the safety car, not just 5, also the safety car should have completed another lap before going in. This means Lewis would have won the Championship, its as simple as that. Masi should be sacked for causing such distress to both Lewis who should be Champion and to Max who now has a world title tainted with this mess.

      3. Not certain he expected a blatant ignoring of a rule, applied by the stewards

        Or can you explain why only some of the cars were allowed to unlap? No-one else can

      4. Thats exactly why Merc is appealing. Cause they did change the race result. And they did it im such a clumsy way, they broke the rules for it. Lets see, how they get out of it. Anyway, its a disgrace for the sports, and a made-up result.

    25. I highly doubt Mercedes would appreciate the negative publicity that would come out of the title awarded from the table. On the other hand, I think there needs to be a strong push against the chaos and bending the rules that’s been recently put up by Masi et al. This kind of decisions and willful ignorance should have no place in F1. But I’m still afraid that this is the only thing Liberty wants and they will go after such opportunities more and more.

      1. +1

        It must clearly be clarified what is:

        a) pushing other drivers off the track
        b) what is rejoining in unsafe manner
        c) what is exactly gaining a “lasting advantage”

        d) when is VSC required
        e) when is SC required
        f) when is red flag required

        g) what is the 10-car length gap required during formation laps

        and much much more

        1. Definitely. The interpretation what is needed and when is all over the place with Masi. Compared to Whiting, we’ve seen the number of opportunistic red flags skyrocketing, and that’s only one instance of such arbitrary decisioning.

      2. I totally agree, you can’t have a race director making decisions based on how well they will play out on the next series of Drive to Survive.

      3. petebaldwin (@)
        12th December 2021, 16:55

        Absolutely – but we knew this before today’s race. The rules are applied so inconsistently in F1 and it needs a major overhaul of how things are done.

        As it stands, you can’t really penalise Red Bull for a mistake by the stewards. You either say the race is null and void or you let the result stand. If you find Red Bull did something wrong, penalise them but to ignore the final lap and call the race early is as controversial and unfair as anything that happened today.

        I think ultimately, this will end up in court but over the financial aspect of it – Mercedes will want money they’ve lost out on and will sue the FIA.

    26. While I think Mercedes are right (on both points, though the first is more frivolous) I can’t see how FIA can reverse the eventual outcome of Masi making a pig’s dinner of the regulations. And not a good ending to a great season which ever way it goes (I can see weeks of appeals on the way). It’s a 100% certainty Red Bull would have protested were the situations reversed, so all kind of inevitable. Whatever, one thing is sure: Masi should have kept calm and applied the actual rules everyone knows. He needs to go.

        1. There’s no way you CANNOT appeal this. The problem with F1 is that is a sport in which international corporations (Mercedes, Honda, Ferrari, RedBull etc) invest 100s millions a year. As a whole it might be close to 1 billion per year. And yet the race director is able to bend or break the rules as he sees fit. This is not about winning or losing it’s about investments. It’s simply not worth if you invest 200m and you lose because of this. How would Toto explain this to his investors? “Yeah sorry guys, thanks for all the money, we lost the drivers title because the race director broke the rules. Suck it up and give us a couple of hundred more million next season”??

          In short, F1 is still being officiated by a bunch of amateurs as if this were a bunch a garage outfits competing in the 60s, but the teams are financed by highly professional investors who want to see a return on their investments somewhere. This cannot go on like this. It needs to be sorted this winter else I see Mercedes withdrawing eventually. It’s imply not worth the investment anymore. It’s not like people buy a Merc because they are world champions.

    27. In the event that Merc wins the court case, the race results would be forfeited, and the championship ended at the last round in Jeddah. So 369.5 pts to VER and HAM each. Verstappen champ on countback.

      Don’t think they’ll add another race (time/cost/resource issues) or give HAM the win in abu dhabi as red bull will argue that it’s not a given and it didn’t happen on track.

      As more towards a Max fan, they should scrap this race due to Masi’s incompetence.

      1. Why can’t they for example go a lap back in case merc wins the lapped cars appeal?

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          12th December 2021, 16:57

          Why would that be as equally as controversial and unfair to Red Bull as what happened to Mercedes.

          1. @petebaldwin How would that be unfair to Red Bull? The result was given without Masi’s interference. Its not like Verstappen could have won without the safety car coming in too early.

      2. The CAS take a “balance of probabilities” approach, they wouldn’t nullify the race, they would give it to Hamilton.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          12th December 2021, 16:59

          They wouldn’t have let the cars unlap and finish under SC, they’d have green flagged it with them in position. Those cars would have likely got out of the way considering the situation and Max would have still passed Lewis on his new tyres….

          1. Christian Horner requested the cars move out of the way, and was really angry at the initial decision not to move them. You might be right, but Red Bull didn’t think so, which will be used against them.

      3. As the SC needed to stay out for one more lap with no overtaking allowed the decision is pretty easy, isnt it. Why should the whole race get nullified, when only the position changes on the last lap have not been in line with the rules.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          12th December 2021, 16:59

          That was never an option – they’d have told the cars to not unlap themselves and gone racing.

      4. They can’t nullify a race, there are 18 other drivers.

        1. @john-h At least 10 of whose races were messed up by the FIA’s behaviour.

      5. That’s not how this works. It’s an end-of-race FIA breach affecting most of the field one way or another, so logically it would be handled like a premature chequered flag.

    28. As expected. To be honest, my only wish here is to F1 to FINALLY realize it’s not a matter of “oh Lewis got this but max got that one before”, and balance out wrong decisions. It’s about making the right decision every time, and follow the rule book in a consistent way.

      Why wasn’t it red flagged if they wanted a green flag finish? Why was it decided then reversed that lapped cars can’t unlap themselves? Why only 5 of them did it? Why was all about this season so wrong in terms of stewarding?

      They need a rethink. Brazil 2008 had drama naturally happen. This felt fabricated at least … Not the res bull or max did anything wrong, but the end result felt like a lottery that wasn’t about weather or a poorly timed safety car period. It was decided in a room by stewards that should know better…

      1. It couldn’t be red flagged because Masi said before the race that there would be no red flags for crashes at that corner. Thus the only other outcome is the safety car, which according to the rules and the length of time it took to clear the track meant a finish under the safety car. Any other outcome is illegitimate.

        1. @williamstuart That’s misconduct in its own right – Masi is not allowed to guarantee a lack of red flags at any corner before the race, for he cannot foresee how bad any particular incident will be. Now I’ve got to add “did Masi break the rules in order to avoid waving a red flag?” to my list of objections to the FIA’s behaviour…

          1. Yes. Karun Chandhok mentioned this post race, apparently he asked Masi directly and that was the response.

    29. If the championship is decided in the courtroom, then F1 is even more a joke than the final 5 laps of todays race suggested.

      1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
        12th December 2021, 16:53


    30. What kind of athlete would want to win in this way anyway. Lewis should step up and tell his team “it is enough” but I guess not surprisingly he won’t.

      1. As sore as he must feel now, would he want 7 squeaky clean championships or 8 with an asterisk?

        1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          12th December 2021, 16:54

          Like Max’s only one now has, sadly.

        2. for a race he compltely dominated and was stolen from him by Masi? breaking 2 yes 2 safety car rules… the asterisk next to MV will be even more shamefull * was handed the victory on a plate with the corruption from Masi the race director

      2. @geekracer2000 Why would he? If the result stands, there’s no point any of them bothering to show up in 2022 (including Max).

    31. Regardless of the outcome of this but I remember Ferrari being crucified by the British media and even here at RaceFans (F1 Fanatic) when they have invited to the FIA to investigate whether Sebastian Vettel overtook under yellow flags during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

      1. Do you remember Mclaren being crucified for protesting Brazil 2007?

        1. Emma,
          Not as much as Ferrari at least on the F1 paddock. Eddie Jordan who made a living after his F1 career as a team principle out of bashing Ferrari said he was OK with the appeal and get the result but it is hard to prove. Hamilton and fair play to him said he wanted to win the title on the track and Alonso was doing his usual thing against McLaren in 2007. He bashed them to the hilt. I remember also that there were some kind of a debates and polls on different F1 forums (the BBC) if I remember correctly but that’s it.

      2. Who were they supporting in 2012 @tifoso1989? Genuine question, I remember at the time it being quite even between Alonso and Vettel in terms of support.

        1. @john-h
          They were (and still) anti-Ferrari by default. It doesn’t matter who was on the opposite side. As for F1 Fanatics, Keith has been accused of being biased towards Vettel. My personal opinion is that Keith gave too much credit for Vettel for what he has achieved while we the “biased fans” were convinced that he wasn’t the best driver out there and that RBR was unstoppable. Wait till Ferrari produces a decent car and get a couple of wins for the bashing to resume.

    32. As I said else where, this result takes me back to when Ferrari Lawyers got involved many years ago whenever anything went against them. Now it is the FIA who decides who will win and throws the rules out the window. Enough, once again I will stop watching F1 racing. Given my age I have probably seen my last F1 debacle (Race?).
      Back to Sports car racing, Stuff the Electric endless emission toys too…………….

    33. Yep. And fairly too. Don’t know what Masi was thinking, not following the rules.

    34. Desperation, but understandable. I doubt the outcome will change anyway.

    35. the rules allow two possibilities. lapped cars may or may not be allowed to overtake. and under either scenario Lewis had a reasonable expectation of still winning. But race control introducing a third never before observed and not in the rules option. So I totally understand why one side are upset.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        12th December 2021, 17:01

        I would have thought if they hadn’t hblapped themselves, they’d have dived out of the way of Max given the circumstances. I don’t think it would have changed the result.

        1. I would have thought if they hadn’t hblapped themselves, they’d have dived out of the way of Max given the circumstances. I don’t think it would have changed the result.

          If that is so obvious (and it seems pretty logical to me), why did RB get involved with Massi at all. Maybe the three corners it would have taken Verstappen to get by would have been enough for Lewis to pull out a big enough advantage for the long back straight. I don’t know. As it is RB only have themselves to blame for this outcome. Or else they didn’t think Max could reach Lewis in a lap if the lapped cars backmarkers had stayed in place. Which is probably true, given how close Max got to Lewis before the line.

        2. not true, max CANNOT overtake cars until he crosses the line when the race restarts, with lapped cars in the way that would give Lewis huge breathing room for the 1 lap shootout as he could sprint early to the line early whilst max is in and cannot overtake under yellow.
          So this is why masi told the cars sandwiched in between Lewis and max to unlap..

          Masi making up the rules on the fly so there is a new WDC, hence why Merc hasa stong argument to overturn the result

        3. @petebaldwin Attempting to “jump out of the way” on a race start is a recipe for a collision. They’d have moved in the next section but possibly too late for Max to catch Lewis.

    36. Hamilton has transgressed the ten car lengths under SC so many times in his career, no one’s ever protested it. Lewis’s driving under SC is often borderline.

      1. What does that have to do with the events of this race?

        1. @moshwan that Merc are protesting Max apparently passing Lewis under SC. They’re protesting issues of millimetres when Lewis has gotten away with more for ages. His SC driving has been dangerous since Fuji 2007, no one else stops/starts like him, and the 10 car length rule never seems to apply for him.

          1. Are you saying that teams should never protest what they perceive as infringements of the rules because their driver might have transgressed similar things in the last? Bizarre stance.

          2. I think the SC one is a none starter @wsrgo, probably a reprimand at worst. The second one with regards the SC, anyone that has watched F1 for years knew how random that was to not do a lap under the SC after allowing lapped cars to overtake.

            The problem is Masi. His incompetence and willingness to be swayed by team principles instead of actually reading the sporting regulations (it sounds ridiculous, but true) means this is all an absolute mess whatever happens. His patronising response to Toto only makes matters worse.

            1. @john-h (Yes I’m back, for one night only (!), just without the account)

              My bet is the FIA penalise Max for overtaking under the SC simply so they can make the lapped cars incident irrelevant and avoid a lawsuit. Mainly just because FIA. Which is pretty much a valid reason at this point. More valid than FIA reasoning that’s for sure.

      2. @wsrgo He’s been protested for it before – as long ago as Japan 2007.

    37. Nothing will change this outcome. F1 will get new viewers as a result of this race and I will fuel myself off the tears of all the crying Hamilton fans here for the next week.

      1. Next week?

        They will be calling for “justice” for the best arce card driver for years.

      2. Actually there are not that many crying Hamilton fans, I can’t see that many @sjzelli.
        Personally I’m actually glad Hamilton didn’t win a championship like this.

        1. @john-h I’m not happy that any championship could be won like this. Not to take anything away from Max; in the scenario he was in, he did nothing wrong. It just so happens that scenario is so seriously flawed that he could still lose it

      3. not crying, just want race directors to follow the FIA rules and not make up WWE style ruling out of thin air.
        Educate yourself on fia rules:
        [all]Unlapped cars should unlap themselves
        The safety car should then leave the circuit on the following lap, clause 39.12

        That means Lewis wins by default as there was only one more lap in the race but masi due of corruption or incompetence panicked and created a rule out of thin air.

        What the point of teams spending 100s millions to go racing when masi runs a mario kart championship making up rules to build hype and drama?

        1. Corruption is the most likely!

      4. @sjzelli It is likely to lose many viewers as a result of this. F1 ha a perfect opportunity to earn many fans, and because the FIA decided it wouldn’t follow its own regulations, F1 faceplanted and nearly everyone I’ve seen (including Max fans) believe F1 has dishonoured itself.

    38. They have no choice, race director has contravened the rules to disadvantage the 7 cars who couldn’t unlap themselves, that could of cost constructor points and money as well as contravening the rules for a spectacle ending, he will probably lose his job, you can’t break the regulations for spectacle and disadvantage teams to do so, this will end up in the courts for the championship tho

    39. It has been a while since I last saw a championship protested. Generally teams just take it on the chin.

      1. @peartree I believe Ferrari protested Vettel for overtaking under yellows at Brazil 2012, but eventually dropped that appeal a couple of weeks later

      2. protesting a huge breach of FIA protocol is not ‘taking it on the chin’.

        masi cannot make up rules on the fly

    40. The fact is that Hamilton would’ve won the championship, if the stewards and the race control had followed the rules.

      1. If they kept consequences of accidents into account he wouldn’t have – silverstone!

        1. Yes but we all decided that we didn’t like that after Vettel got a 5s penalty for dangerous track re-entry in Montreal and we were so collectively angry about it, the FiA literally wrote into the rule book that the consequences of an incident should not be taken into account.

          Interesting that now the rule written because Hamilton benefitted is now being rubbished because Hamilton is benefitting from it.

          1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
            12th December 2021, 16:56

            I thkn that sums that one up! :-)

        2. In silverstone Max deliberately turnes in knowing there is a car alongside.

          1. That’s why Lewis wad at fault there and received a penalty for it.
            I guess reading the rulebook is hard for a Lewis fan.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        12th December 2021, 17:02

        That’s not a fact. Max could have still passed him on his fresh tyres.

        1. I don’t think you understand the current debate.

      3. you are right!
        clown race directors could’ve followed the rules and either let all of the lapped cars through or let none. Either decision would have resulted in a Hamilton win. So masi panicked knowing this and decided on a third option creating a new rule out of thin air, allowing only the ones between Hamilton and Verstappen, so handing the race to Max on brand new softs vs Lewis’s old hards.

        To add more if merc pitted lewis and max did not and was promoted to first i’m convinced masi would finish the race under sc so merc was screwed either way hence why they are protesting the result and rightfully so.

        Either we have FIA protocol or we don’t , if not then half of the teams wont race because they dont spend €100’s millions to enter the mario kart mushroom cup with wwe race directors making up rulings.

        1. He made it a win win for RB !!

    41. I agree with the second protest. The first one is just being bad WCC winners.

      1. I genuinely think it’s only there so the FiA can use it to give Max a 5 second penalty so they don’t have to admit they were incompetent. I think if max gets 5 for it, Merc quietly drop the other one.

        Please don’t take my theory as endorsement for it.

        1. An interesting theory Will. And has some legs for me. It allows FIA to save face by giving Max a 5 second penalty.

    42. The result being changed to a Lewis win would be awful for the sport. It’s a really sour end all round really due to Masi not following the rules. As Coulthard put it why even bother spending all this money to compete in a championship where you think you’re competing on an even keel, and then it’s changed out of the blue and you lose out as a result.

      1. As always you’ve hit the nail on the head @davidhunter13 .

      2. @davidhunter13 That’s where we are if the result is upheld. The FIA changed things out of the blue and blatantly against regulations, and everyone lost out as a result.

    43. When the annoyed (panicked?) Masi told Toto: “We’re car racing here” and Toto was like totally stunned by the Disrespect… i knew that the Protest would come. I think Toto wants to see Masi gone and i can understand him.

      1. Who doesn’t want to see Masi go?

      2. He left Toto speechless. His only worthy feat in F1 as race director so far.

      3. Please no safety car please Lewis hadn’t pitted please don’t ruin our race, please warn them this is dangerous driving i’m so scary they can touch and Max is coming, no Michael no, this is not right… Toto was completetly out of line today.

    44. Ok so a lot to digest here.

      Firstly, the lapped cars protest will not work. I think that’s already a given. Not because there was nothing wrong with it; the FIA made an appalling decision. But you cannot penalise RB for the FIA’s screw up, which is what I think Merc are trying to achieve. The alternative is the FIA call the race 1 lap short (which I’m not sure if they’re able to do post-race, unless it’s red flag and the normal 2 lap countback applies), but that just opens the door to a counter-protest from Alpha Tauri, who had Gasly overtake Bottas on the final lap. Don’t get me wrong, Mercedes fans have a right to be angry with this decision, but they can only be angry with the FIA, not Max.

      The overtaking under SC bit is a bit more interesting though. There are two things that need to be considered. Firstly, did Max overtake under SC? This is difficult to tell from the provided camera angles (only the onboard of Max so far), but from that onboard it looks very, very close coming out of turn 12, but the angle makes it impossible me to be able to tell if he’s ever ahead. Secondly, if he did overtake, they need to consider why Max overtook. Is it because he accelerated, or because Lewis braked. As Martin Brundle will tell you a million times, “the car in front is not allowed to accelerate-brake, accelerate-brake”. The regulations say drivers are not allowed to engage in “erratic acceleration or braking”, which sounds eerily familiar to one week ago. If Max accelerated past Lewis, he should get a penalty and would deserve it. If Lewis braking is what caused Max to pass, then it’s a more difficult issue.

      I’m not happy at how this season and race has ended, and I really do feel for Mercedes. While their strategy wasn’t great today, they were in control until decisions out of their hand swung the balance to RB. The protest about the SC procedure is unlikely to succeed simply because there is no way to rectify it that wouldn’t spawn days or weeks of counter-protests or lawsuits. The SC one is a closer call, and I shall await for the outcome of this.

      What’s sad is I saw this coming. When I deleted my account in midweek, one of the driving factors was that I was dreading this weekend, expecting it end in controversy, and I’ve been proven right. I’m gonna try and repeat what I said then, although I expect it’s already too late (I have deliberately not checked any comment sections except when scrolling down to this one): please keep it respectful, and avoid launching into personal insults. As I said above, Mercedes fans have a right to be angry over the lapped cars issue, but only at the FIA, not at Max.

      1. Yes, it really ended in controversy, definitely hamilton drove better today, but he also had the best car, which has been true since post mexico, was very clear when he could keep up with 20 laps older tyres; the decision was controversial but imo it balances out a bit the earlier bad luck, hamilton didn’t even complain, which was nice of him, on other hand I’m not surprised about this by wolff.

      2. please keep it respectful, and avoid launching into personal insults.

        I do keep things respectful but just who are you exactly to make demands on other commentators?

        1. @andyfromsandy I’m not trying to demand, because I know that I’m not someone in a position of power to be able to do so, I’m making a polite request so that this community doesn’t turn into a brewing pot of online abuse and worse. We’ve already seen horrific abuse against Hamilton after Silverstone, and I don’t want to see the F1 or the RaceFans community in such a bad state. I deliberately stay away from other online communities (mainstream music is a notorious example) due to extremely high levels of toxicity and abuse, and don’t want F1 to follow suit down such bad rabbit holes.

      3. @RandomMallard really? My point of view is 100% the opposite: the overtaking under SC is going nowhere: if it ever existed, it was minimal and promptly returned.

        The SC restart procedure was unarguably contrary to regulation. I’ve mentioned this in other comments: regardless of the outcome of these protests, the FIA has tainted this championship.

        1. @warheart I completely agree that the lapped cars incident was against the regulations. I just don’t think there’s a way to resolve it which won’t result in weeks, months or years of appeals and arguments.

          1. That said @warheart, if the FIA do find that Verstappen overtook under SC, however marginal or short-lived it may have been, I would not at all be surprised if they penalise him just so they can reduce the fall-out from the lapped cars incident.

            1. This will be FIA’s out-of-jail-card for FIA-induced fiasco.

              Blame it on Max for overtaking under SC (doesn’t really matter if it’s in milimeters only) and the debacle related to SC procedure becomes irrelevant.

              Shambles all over :|

            2. I don’t know.
              First I don’t think Verstappen overtook Hamilton.
              Second: if (!) it happend, was this because Verstappen accelerated, or because Hamilton slowed down?
              Third: they typically look at if there was a lasting advantage. There clearly wasn’t, so…

            3. ChrisVB

              I still wouldn’t be surprised that, if they can clearly show Verstappen was ahead at any point, deliberately or not, lasting advantage or not, they’ll still penalising and use it as a get out of jail free card for the lapped cars incident.

          2. RandomMallard as usual, you’re spot on. Hence why my position is that, whatever they do from now on, the FIA has tainted this championship, regardless of who ends up declared as the WDC. Should they use the alleged SC overtake as their out-of-jail card, I think they would make all this fiasco way worse than it already is. Something must change in the FIA, and quite urgently IMHO.

      4. Why is it okay to be unfair to Mercedes but not Red Bull? The rules were broken and Mercedes lost as a result, Red Bull not winning is not unfair – it should never have been in this situation in the first place.

        1. @williamstuart It’s not okay to be unfair to either of them, but there’s not a scenario that is fair to both (DSQ both teams from the whole season maybe? ;-). Would give Ferrari the title wouldn’t it?).

          I feel that the most sporting decision would be for Mercedes to win both titles. But I can’t think of any way the FIA can do that (apart from penalising Max for overtaking under SC if it turns out he did). I’m not aware of any provision that would allow them to do anything like that (other than a points deduction for Max, but he hasn’t done anything wrong so I can’t see that happening).

      5. RandomMallard You can penalise a third-party team for a regulator error, there’s precedent for it (Brazil 2003 described downthread, among every other incident for which the FIA was required to reverse a previous misjudgment) and there’s obligation to do so where warranted in the International Sporting Code.

    45. Why wasn’t it red flagged if they wanted a green flag finish? Why was it decided then reversed that lapped cars can’t unlap themselves? Why only 5 of them did it? Unbelievable cheating from FIA and Masi!

      1. It did not fulfill the requirements for a red flag.
        Do not try to bend the rules in your desired direction. I get it you would have liked that but its not allowed..

        1. You really add nothing to the comment section. Your hypocrisy must be legendary on this forum.

    46. The FIA has put itself into an impossible situation by accepting mediocre officiating for many years. People are quick to blame Masi, but let’s not forget that Whiting had his own share of creative interpretations right down to making up new rules on the spot (e.g. Fuji 2007). And Hamilton probably would have been the 2007 champion if Sauber and BMW had been caught with cooler than allowed fuel at any race other than the title decider in Brazil.

      It seems rather unlikely the results will change, but hopefully all the stewarding-related controversies this year; from Silverstone to Brazil to here will prompt Todt or his successor to demand changes in the FIA’s F1 team.

    47. Ugh, the gaslighting sky is spewing all the time, now maybe more than ever. You poor poor people having to swallow it all.

    48. The more I look at this, the more it seems a slam-dunk that the result will be overturned. If Mercedes want, they can take this to court. FIA haven’t a leg to stand on since the race director simply tore up the existing rules in arbitrary fashion. Dismal all round but kind of apt that the season ends with Masi the focus of attention yet again.

      1. @david-br I struggle to see how they would overturn the race though. A lot of people suggesting they call the race a lap short but I’m not sure there is a provision that allows them to do that (except if the chequered flag is waved early or the standard red flag countback rules).

        I definitely feel Merc have been wronged here by the FIA, but struggle to see how anyone could go about fixing it.

        1. RandomMallard, it would be extremely easy to overturn the race in this case, due to the form the problem took. Had it been mid-race, it would have been difficult. However, since it was at the end, it is only necessary to treat it like a premature chequered flag (in this case, because the FIA decided to stop governing according to the regulations in a way that affected at least 10 of the remaining drivers and potentially all of them, one way or another).

          This would mean taking the results on the last lap before the FIA went off the rails.

          1. @alianora-la-canta I agree this is what should probably happen, but I don’t think there’s a legal way to do this without the intervention of much higher courts. Then you’ve got the problem of then appeasing the drivers who weren’t affected by this (e.g. Gasly overtook Bottas on the final lap), a perfectly valid move that could be annulled if race is called back one lap and there was no communication that it would be one lap shorter (i.e. there was no premature chequered flag)

      2. If a ref awards a non-existent free kick that leads to a goal and a win, do you overturn the result when his error is proved after the game is over? No

        This is one of 22 races and not any more important than any other race. Even if they made a mistake, you can’t overturn the result.

        1. @undercut677 In football, the referee’s decision is allowed to stand… …unless it is so egregious that the match has to be abandoned (which occasionally happens in amateur football). However, in motorsport, there are many subtler adjustments available, many more people are entitled to make judgments in certain situations, and appeals systems exist specifically because it is known that the rules of F1 are more complex than football, and it is also known that the teams cannot trust the FIA to judge fairly without that extra scrutiny (football never had an equivalent to the FISA-FOCA War of 1980-1981, and it shows).

          1. @alianora-la-canta This “match” was not abandoned as Merc raced to the end. Can you give me an example where a race result was changed because of a ruling mistake?

            1. @undercut677 Note before answering: I could have listed several more recent incidents (including one this year), but this one is my favourite result change done on the basis of a ruling mistake, and I think you will find reading one extended anecdote more interesting than a statistics list.

              Brazil 2003. Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan) overtook Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) for the lead two corners before the line. A lap later, Mark Webber crashes out of 7th place and dumps loads of debris all over the track. Cue yellow flags.

              Fisichella and Raikkonen take due care. Raikkonen pits because he’s about to run out of fuel, Fisichella carries on to line up behind the Safety Car that was summoned. We don’t follow the new leader round the corner because Fernando Alonso, behind them, apparently misses all the yellow flags and strikes a wheel a full speed. He’s winded, and 12 seconds later the race is red-flagged, never to restart due to the 75% rule that then existed. (Fisichella breathes a sigh of relief at this point, mostly because his car caught fire in the pits – he could not have restarted the race had that been the decision).

              After several minutes of fervent discussion, the FIA announces the winner is… …Raikkonen. Much to the puzzlement of the entire non-McLaren contingent, for Fisichella had been leading for quite a while by this point. However, nobody lodges a formal protest because nobody at that point is sure how to prove it (apart from the obvious facts that Raikkonen was never seen in front of Fisichella after the pass and that it’s impossible to overtake someone on the track if one is dawdling down the pits). Besides, the FIA is claiming the race was stopped on Lap 55, which means counting back to Lap 53 (back then, countback went two laps on every occasion, not “the most recent point at which positions could be determined”).

              So the Jordan team got home. They found out that their chief factory IT technician, Mark Cormican, had been doing screen-shots of the timing screen throughout the race (Jordan was the second-slowest team that year, so even the P8 it started from was exciting enough to want to record it for posterity like a fan would) and these screenshots included images, with corroborating timing and other on-screen data, for Lap 54, Lap 55… …and Lap 56. Fisichella crossed the start-finish line 4.6 seconds before the red flag was flown.

              With this information, Jordan did an informal petition to ask the FIA to review the situation. The FIA, technically, could have ignored this – it’s only obliged to consider protests if they are formal (which means paying $2000 and lodging them within whichever time period is specified – at the time, it was 1 hour post-race). The review was convened on the Friday after the Grand Prix, and it decided in Jordan’s favour, since the FIA could not prove the race actually finished on the lap it said it had due to technical difficulties.

              Several long-reaching consequences ensued:
              – Fisichella was given victory and Raikkonen demoted to second
              – Raikkonen’s point loss almost lost him the championship (he went from “lost because he won fewer races” to “lost by two points”)
              – Fisichella’s point gain almost certainly prevented Jordan from going bust at the end of 2003, which is part of the reason why Aston Martin exists in its present form (Lawrence Stroll would not have bought a team that went bust 15 years before he started shopping…)
              – The rules regarding red flags and countbacks were dramatically simplified, to try to avoid similar problems in future.
              – The timing provider, Tag Heuer, was dropped and replaced at the end of the 2003 season

        2. (Also, 22 protesting footballers can start a riot by accident. 20 protesting drivers can get a couple of days worth of after-dinner anecdotes and Race Control secretly thinking they are being a bit silly – if you ever see a riot in F1, it’ll be because the audience decided to have one on their own initiative. The respective regulations take those power dynamics into account).

    49. I guess Toto needs some time to digest this. He is part of this F1 circus and it needs to keep some credibility. Hope they will evaluate and do a better job next year. Let them race.

      1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
        12th December 2021, 16:59

        …and don’t change the rules at the last moment to make a mockery of the actual racing.

        1. SO you agree they are bending, if not breaking the rules? earlier in this comment section, you were the police.

    50. Why would it be awful if the Fia annoumce a change to the standings. Allowance for protesting is apart of the sport. Especially for the questionable decisions like the ones we have seen today. If lewis is crowned world champion. Its only fair. Nevermind the publicity. We cant base proper decisions on popularism. We must follow the rules other wise this is not a sport but a show.

      1. Lewis’ drive gave him the championship, external influence took it away from him. So as you say it is only fair.

    51. Stand up, be men – and not the sour loosers you seem to be. Take, and accept the loss!

      1. Why should they accept a loss, which only happens cause race control brakes the rules and makes up probably illegal decisions to help the opponent? If this is still sports then the appeal will succeed, although the disgrace cannot be undone.

        1. Not only did they break the rules, but I would argue based on the conversation Masi had with Horner moments before, they did it specifically to benefit one competitor’s chances.

      2. If they do, then F1 will no longer have claim to be a sport, which defeats the point of either Mercedes or Red Bull bothering to turn up in 2022.

    52. Firstly, the lapped cars protest will not work.

      In your opinion.

      Anything that MB does will be considered sour grapes but Masi’s position is untenable I think. He broke the sporting regulations and his penalty ought to be the sack.

      1. I think that has been clear for a while.

      2. Agree, this biggest argument going for merc going by the letter of the law, this isn’t even an F1 exclusive issue but an FIA global rule regarding restarts and lapped cars, the fact only the cars between lewis and max unlapped themselves is a massive red flag and more ammo for merc going into the protest.

        Masi made EVERY ruling in the restart to benefit Max, here are some simple arguments:

        Why didn’t he just allow ALL cars to unlap themselves? Because that would make Lewis WDC, all lapped cars would need an “extra” lap to drive near the back of the snake under sc conditions, also there was no time for all cars to make their way past the pack so masi panicked made up rules to get one green lap.

        Why didn’t masi NOT allow ANY cars to unlap? Because that would almost hand Lewis the WDC as under the restart Lewis could sprint to the line to get nice buffer whilst max is ‘stuck’ behind lapped cars and cannot overtake until they cross the line.

        Congrats to Masi for destroying a great race and whatever the ruling will be the 2021 WDC will always be tainted by this farcical WWE style stewarding

        1. Precisely

    53. If this goes to court it will taint Hamilton’s record – Lewis doesn’t want that, he graciously congratulates Max. The sport doesn’t want that. The only people who do want that are Toto and what one can only assume are the faceless corporate bullies of the Stuttgart board who it seems must win at all costs to their bottomless wallets.

      1. @machinesteve Too late for that. The sport needs this to go to some sort of court to have the injustices reversed as far as possible, otherwise it affirms the FIA’s right to determine the winner of a championship before a single wheel has turned, thus defeating the point of what Lewis, Max et al fight for.

        Anyone who wants F1 to be a sport or have any claim to the title will need at least some of what happened today reversed. (Personally I’m in favour of not awarding the title at all, because the FIA’s behaviour altered both protagonists’ incentives and affordances so pervasively that it is no longer possible to guess who would have won a justly-run championship).

    54. I don’t like Wolff. It’s winning at all costs. Verstappen is the same. They are made for each other.

      1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
        12th December 2021, 17:00

        You forget to include Horner.

    55. I said it before, I’ll say it again: Masi is simply not up for the job. Wish Charlie was still around. Seems he is irreplacable. :(

    56. I personally don’t think the outcome will change. Even as a Lewis fan and wanting him to win, it would feel wrong to take the championship away from Max once the champagne has been popped, everyone has celebrated and your average viewer has turned off their TV with a winner declared.
      What I think will come out as a result of this is the management of Liberty and the FIA actually deciding what F1 is. Today a line was crossed between sport and entertainment. Once you start making decisions based on entertainment, you’ve lost the purpose of F1. These teams and drivers work to the maximum and push each other to every millisecond. When you start making decisions based on entertainment, that questions the whole integrity of the competition. Teams might as well not compete anymore and it become a scripted TV drama.
      All the talk was the championship finishing in the stewards rooms because of driver actions. In reality the drivers were brilliant today, it was the FIA who have made a mockery of the sport we all love

      1. Fully agree.
        The way the rules are being interpreted by the race director, as well as the communication from the teams to the race directory (I would propose a full ban) needs to be reviewed during the winter. I only fear there won’t be politicall will to do it, because Liberty’s dream about exposure and marketing value has materialized today, regardless of fairness of decisioning.

        1. @pironitheprovocateur In the same sense that the 2005 USA Grand Prix, yes…

      2. F1 hasn’t stunk so much since Ferrari spent more each year than everyone else put together, and their Lawyers cost even more methinks.

    57. I doubt The decision will be reversed but for the sake of the sport FIA needs to consider Masi’s position. Maybe don’t dismiss him for now but quietly ask him to leave during the off season. I don’t think he’s up to the task of such a high profile position.

    58. Biggest argument Merc have which is HUGE is that Masi made up the rules to only allow some cars to unlap with minimal warning and not enough time to go to the “back of the snake” whist others behind did not unlap to give Max an artificial advantage due to there being no cars in between him and Lewis.

      It could be argued that allowing only the lapped cars in between Lewis and max to “get out of the way” was done to artificially give max a fighting chance to overtake Lewis.
      Under normal circumstances masi would either allow ALL lapped cars to unlap themselves with ample time OR restart WITH lapped cars in place BUT this did not happen because he knew Lewis would be safe and win the WDC as he could legally sprint early to the line under the restart whist max needs to wait until lapped cars crossed the line before they get blue flagged which would give Lewis huge breathing room.
      Also to add if masi gave ample time for lapped cars to go to the back of the snake there would be no more laps and Lewis would win which is why the nature(making up rules) and the timing of the calls is massively suspicious

      Again this isn’t a questionable on track steward calling but clear black and white FIA rules.

      Masi noticed that the laps was running out clearing the crash because he wanted green flag racing for at least 1 lap to help max, he panicked because lapped cars in the way and unlapping them would cost an extra race lap and hand Lewis the WDC so he made up a ruling out of thin air with the semi unlapped cars restart ruling.

      Merc are completely justified in protesting going off the letter of the law.

      1. +1 Very well put.

      2. The worst of it is, Masi could have legitimately got his racing lap simply by not permitting any cars to unlap themselves. That’s clearly permitted in the regulations, and Max would have stood at least some chance of clearing them and winning on merit. This is why I feel Max was cheated of his championship by the FIA just as much as Lewis.

      3. Basically this @ccpbioweapon. It’s actually so sad for Max and Lewis, Masi has been out of his depth for over a year since the Mugello restart farce and whoever is confirmed champion it will be tainted. Quite sad.

      4. The question is not if Masi messed up. Its whether anything can/should be done about it. Refs mess up all the time but scores still stand. This is also not a final, it is one race out of 22 and as many have said over the year, this is not their first mistake so if you cant litigate all of these after the races, you cant expect to change the result after this one.

    59. Bad winners and even worse losers

    60. What rules determine when race control may red-flag the race? In hindsight that seems the best way to have fairly determined the championship on the track, since it was soon clear to everyone that a safety car period couldn’t complete before the season’s end, which would have been a terribly disappointing finale.

      1. Red flags can only be used if it is deemed impossible to run the race under anything less. However, if barrier repairs had been identified, the medical light been lit (thus requiring the medical car’s attendance, and the uncertain delay to proceedings that would have added to an already-tight schedule) or it was considered that it would not even be possible to release the cars for the last corner (which has happened in F1 a couple of times), then a red flag would have been appropriate.

      2. Disappointing, but at least not controversial…

      3. But there are 18 other cars in the race, you can’t just send out the red flag because it might help give a fair fight for the top two positions, that would also be very wrong.

    61. There is an interesting precedence possible related to the Race control not following SC regulations. Several races were waved of by the chequered flag one lap too early. In those cases, FIA acknowledged their mistake and adjusted race results to those at the end of the previous (what was in reality the penultimate) lap.

      Of course this would require massive political will & determination from FIA, but precedence is here.

      1. The reason for a sc is to clean up the track as soon as possible and regain the race.
        It’s not meant to end the race because fans think that suits better.
        The track was clean and to race this was a good option. M

        1. It’s also not meant to build up a racing lap just because the FIA apparently thinks that’s more likely to give them the champion they want. The length of time a Safety Car is out, and the speed it drives at, is supposed to be dictated strictly by safety issues. Given the other things the FIA has demonstrably done during those last few laps, even this is in doubt.

    62. I think this will be settled “out of court”… Lewis, Toto, and MB hierarchy will quietly agree to accept the race and championship result if Masi is publicly sacked for bringing the sport into disrepute, and if the FIA promise not to be a complete shambles in the future: sort out the rules, stop being so inconsistent etc.

      If not, then the solution really is simple: if the regulations had been followed, the race would have ended under SC. Thus HAM wins, and wins his 8th title. That’s taking the actions that were taken, and their timing, to their conclusion per the regulations. It’s black and white.
      Masi had the option of not letting the cars unlap, in which case they could have raced the last lap, but MV would have been 6+ seconds behind with 4 or 5 cars to overtake before getting up to LH. So chances are that LH would still have won. But ultimately it’s irrelevant: had the regulations been followed with the actions taken, the race would finish under the SC, and the order at that time. End of. No discussion. LH champion.

      But as said, I think there possibly will be magnanimous decisions made behind the scenes for the benefit of the sport, especially as MB are still Constructors winner.

    63. I am not a LH fan. I wanted Max to win more than anything. But I can easily say Lewis was robbed. I hope they reverse the result for to save some credibility in F1. Probably too late for that.

      1. Verstappen was robbed when Hamilton left the track to pit himself out of DRS range.

    64. Sore loser

    65. None of this is about Mercedes, about Red Bull, Lewis or Max, this is all about the FIA and the real shame is that they can’t challenge themselves on that one.

      It’s not about them so why does is take Mercedes to lodge the protest? Why can’t FIA review that on their own?

      1. @chriju0411 Because the FIA has particular procedures it has to follow to review a potentially problematic decision from one of its own, and likely they can’t even start the paperwork for it until 9 am Monday morning Paris time.

    66. Whatever happens I don’t think there’s a way to turn the result around and adjust positions so whether you are Lewis or a Max fan I think it’s safe to stay things are going to stay the way there are… With that said someone in the FIA will be losing their job or getting a serious tell off lol.

    67. I don’t remember Mercedes fans being angry when Masi made up rules so that Verstappen had to give two places back in Saudi Arabia.

      Complaining that proper procedure wasn’t followed only made sense if it alters the result of the race: if all cars had overtaken that would have had the same result as the first 5 cars. Overruling this now and saying the result before the safety car should be the final result would alter the result of the race much more than any lack of following due diligence when applying the (let’s admit it, completely stupid) rule that l’apex cars should be allowed to unlap themselves.

      The correct way of working should be that lapped cars drop back to the back of the queue. If this much more logical way of working was used, Verstappen would still be champion.

      1. @paeschli Probably because on the same day, the FIA made three bad calls against Lewis. (I know I was angry when it happened, but then none of the drivers I support was in this battle).

        You may not be aware that the result would have been different had proper procedure been followed, most likely by the last lap also being under Safety Car (but potential within the regulations also existed for one race lap with those 5 cars between Lewis and Max).

        Your proposal would constitute a post hoc rule change, which would not solve the problem. (It is a reasonable solution for fixing the issue in future, though – that, or asking lapped cars to go through the pits on race restart).

      2. Handing back positions has been done for years @paeschli. What was odd was that Masi even had a discussion with Red Bull about it, he should have just told them to do it. In that exact race remember someone actually brake tested another driver and didn’t get disqualified.

        And you haven’t read the article clearly, not only is it that the wrong that only 5 cars were unlapped, but the restart should have been at the end of the following lap as written in black and white in the sporting regulations.

        Sadly this will go to the International FIA court of appeal because of the incompetence of Masi, which helps neither Lewis and Max.

      3. @paeschli no rule was made up in Saudi Arabia regarding Verstappen returning the positions. Sporting Regulations, article 27.3:


        At the absolute discretion of the Race Director a driver may be given the opportunity to give back the whole of any advantage he gained by leaving the track.

        The reason that Mercedes is protesting is because the result was altered because proper procedure wasn’t followed. Not because all lapped cars didn’t unlap, which should already sound quite worring per se; but because proper procedure (again, as per the regulations) states, and I highlight:


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

    68. Just rewatched it, it’s so bad by the FIA. First they said no cars can overtake , then they waited a whole lap to change their minds. You can’t do that.

      FIA artificially created a 1 lap race to help Max win the championship. 99% of the race Max was nowhere, this was the only one way he was going to win.

    69. I am a Max fan and as much as I wanted this championship to be decided under racing, Lewis got robbed by the complete and utter lack of consistency and adherence to the written rules by Masi. This victory seems very hollow to me.

    70. I am wondering, what kind of consequences might bring the protest, if it will be granted. Verstapen did not break the rules, Masi did. They can’t issue a penalty to Verstapen, they can’t disqualify him neither. Repeat the race? Not likely, it won’t be a carbon copy of today’s race. Maybe declare race null and void, but it means Verstapen is still champion, cause both drivers were equal on points and Verstapen was further ahead based on race wins. They might declare the rules were broken, but it wasn’t because of drivers, therefore the final result stands. This leads to a dead end.

    71. Lots of comments here saying it’s about the FIA not RedBull, but if RedBull had kept off the phone to Masi, the race would have restarted correctly, except there would have been 5 lapped cars between Max and Lewis. Masi wanted a race on the last lap and the only way to do this was by not allowing the cars to unlap themselves.

      And whilst they would get out the way pretty damn quick Max would not have been 1m, but 100m behind Lewis at the restart. Which is something different altogether, but not at all impossible for Max, on new softs, knowing he wins if there’s a crash.

      But RedBull panicked, got on the phone to Masi, he panicked and broke the regulations. And now we have this mess, caused in my opinion by RedBull. They might still have won, but wanted those cars removed anyway. Except that couldn’t happen in time for their to be an actual final lap race.

    72. I am a former SCCA Race Marshal l have been watching F1 for 40 years and this will be the last one I watch unless Masi is removed from office

    73. I enjoyed the competition this season but HATED the end. Given Hamilton was holding on to his comfortable lead before the crash, it took multiple bad/illegal decisions to manufacture the Verstappen win. Whether the result will be changed is one matter… but I’ll instead comment on other matters:

      First, I believe Masi should and will be fired for breaking multiple rules and bringing the sport into disrepute (and this isn’t his only screw-up).

      Second, safety car rules should be massively simplified to eliminate this kind of issue in future:
      The order of the cars on the track when the safety car comes out should remain until the safety car leaves the track – period. There should be no repositioning of lapped cars and no pitting just to change tyres. Only possible exception: If a car is damaged and can’t safely continue then it should pit and, at best, join the back of the pack.

      If everything were as simple as above, Max wouldn’t have changed tyres but would still have closed the gap on Lewis behind the safety car. It would have been a thrilling last lap and, whoever won, then fair enough. Either way, most fans would have been a lot happier than we are now.

      I don’t watch WWE but I do watch UFC for a reason – it is real (or I believe it is)! If F1 is going in the direction of WWE, I really can’t see myself following it anymore.

    74. So Mercedes have have been bought too!
      No more F1 for me!!

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