‘We won it on-track and they’ll never take that away from me’ – Verstappen

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen is unconcerned by the threat of a possible appeal from Mercedes over his championship-winning victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“I’m fine” said the Red Bull driver when asked about Mercedes giving notification of their intention to appeal. “I don’t even think about it too much because I do feel like the world champion and it doesn’t matter what they try to do.”

Mercedes challenged FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi’s decision to restart the race with one lap to go having only allowed enough backmarkers to un-lap themselves in order for Verstappen to have an unimpeded run at race leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen passed his rival on the final lap to win the race and clinch the championship.

“We won it on track,” Verstappen insisted. “We won it when there was a green flag, green lights and we passed them on track and they will never be able to take that away from me, anyway.”

“About the possible appeal or whatever, I’m not busy with that,” Verstappen added. “As a team, of course it might be disturbing, but for us, we have been really enjoying the last few days.”

Mercedes’ efforts to challenge the outcome of the race revealed a difference in attitude between them and Red Bull, said Verstappen.

Verstappen celebrated with his team in Milton Keynes
“The relationship, for me – I think I can be a forgiving person or whatever,” said Verstappen. “At the moment it’s still all so new from this season that it’s better not to talk about it too much.

“But for example, I saw Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team principal] in Monaco before Saudi, I had a dinner and he was sitting on the table next to me and we had a chat. And he of course goes flat out for his team and I know that my team also does everything they can.

“But besides that I do think you should be accepting a loss, it doesn’t matter how much it hurts. And I do think, there, that there is a bit of a difference between the teams.”

Verstappen said he was pleased to have a chance to compete on level terms with Hamilton during 2021. “Finally, with quite equal machinery you can have a battle and you see how much you can push each other throughout the whole race.

“Being on the limit of your material and also pushing the team to the limit, you can actually really see what he is capable of because some seasons he’s had it a bit more easy and you don’t need to push throughout the whole race. So it was more about that just pushing each other to the limit in the race.”

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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139 comments on “‘We won it on-track and they’ll never take that away from me’ – Verstappen”

  1. Were the roles reversed, would he be saying this? Your guess is as good as mine.

    1. He said they should accept a loss? Yeah like red bull would do that quietly lol.
      Winning it on track, technically yes, however I think what max should have done is accept his loss on the day and if he was a true sportsman, not tried to overtake Hamilton on the final lap, yes he would have not gained his first title, but equally he wouldnt have gained his first won that will forever be tainted.
      I think Hamilton would have won deservedly and people’s estimation of max would have sky rocketed in that case, a true sportsman.
      I think he missed a trick, blind sinded by the red bull mentality.

      1. That’s a joke after the points verstappen lost through bad luck, and hamilton would’ve done the same roles reversed.

      2. I just cant believe people still link the result of the last GP to the overall title. There was a whole season preceding it. If you then must, Lewis can have Abu, but we strip his 25 points at Silverstone and/or 18 points at Imola. And then we conveniently forget Bowling Bottas. Yes, I am also unhappy with, well.. many to most stewarding throughout the year. In average Lewis benefitted most from Masi, albeit not the last race. But its a season championship. Get over it.

        1. I can’t understand why you don’t see the difference between inconsistent stewarding and blatantly disregarding the rulebook, creating a brand new rule which favours one driver over every other driver on the track.

          1. plus conveniently forget about Monza, Brazil and Jeddah

          2. @drmouse you are the only person who see the right logic.
            There is a massive difference between luck and rule breaking, no one cares if Lewis lost through genuine bad luck, that’s racing. But this is different. And as I pointed out in a previous comment the whole season taken into account this race is the one that mattered, Had the rules been followed and max still won, everyone would congratulate him, myself, a Mercedes fan included.

          3. My point is that last race should never have been a decider in the first place. I see the difference, yet in effect, on points gained/lost, there is no difference. It matters in terms of severity and incompetence for sure. I am also incredibly unhappy with Race Control this year. Max came either 1st or 2nd in every race bar 4. Baku, Silverstone, Hungary & Monza. We can start a debate about these again and we will never align, but personally I hold Max accountable (partially) for just one. So that’s an incredibly good and consistent season, especially since his team mate was nowhere near these finishing positions. Without Race Control we could/should have wrapped it up around Mexico.

          4. Mayrton there are a lot of ifs and wishful thinking in your statements… there is only one fact though. the race director didnt follow correct procedures, made a decision to make a massive difference in the already lost situation. he artificially turned it around for max/redbul. If you cant see this fact, you dont know when a race is decided… heck you dont know what racing is about. however every other max fan feel max deserved that win with what just happened in this race, shows true colors of what the world has become of… the word justice has no meaning… if max is fine with the decision so are are his fans, just like his behavior on track, he will be a looser off track… and he will end up very much like his father! mark my word for it…

            i hope mercedes and hamilton pulls out, so clowns can have their fun in this circus

          5. @mayrton – pls answer romtrain, Jeddah likely results in a dsq and a race ban for anyone else

      3. @Kaydan

        That only makes sense in a world where Lewis drove into the pits at Silverstone, rather than take the win…

        1. cause Verstappen turned in, not respecting there is a car alongside?

          1. No kidding. im tired of the whiners blaming hamilton for silverstone. he put max in a backout or yard sale situation and max chose to make hamilton flinch. he didnt and max paid for it. i used to race bikes and we had a guy who did that stuff. he cleaned both of us out once and the next weekend he did it again to another rider with the same result. got him a smack in the mouth. he stopped doing that. One the whole max drove better this year than hamilton this year and hopefully next year we get some good clean racing and not Horners idea of clean. cheers all

        2. @aapje because he was found PARTLY to blame? Not FULLY. Know the difference between racing and rule breaking.

      4. You can’t be serious ahahahahahaha.

    2. @lems If the roles were reversed… everybody knows how it would end.

      1. @Cobray

        You would all be cheering for Lewis and Red Bull + Max would be sore losers?

        1. @stefan554433 I mean I don’t believe Max would be allowed himself to be overtaken. We would be in court for a different reason.

          I would cheer for whoever personally. Both deserved it in the end. Max through numbers and much worse luck and Lewis through being a force during the last 4 races.

          1. *have allowed can’t edit comment god damn lol

          2. @cobray

            I mean I don’t believe Max would be allowed himself to be overtaken. We would be in court for a different reason.

            Yes, he would probably defend against Lewis for 1 lap even in worn tyres and win, as guys like Max and Fernando are used to fight through the field despite machine disadvantage after so many years not having the fastest car.

    3. NO YOU DIDN’T.
      The race was won in massi’s back pocket….

  2. Except he didn’t win it on track, he was nowhere near winning it in track until the FIA intervention.

    1. @sham was he floating around in space as he won it?

      1. The lap MV lead on was not an official lap according to the rules, so he didnt win any thing, to me and lost of people around the world. Masi for some unknown reason changed the rules and replace F1 the pinicle of motorSPORT Sign with a Wacky racers sign.

        MV is nothing but a fake champion, the world knows who the real champion is.

        1. Verstappen, considering baku etc.

          1. lexusreliability?
            16th December 2021, 7:40

            @esploratore1

            Or Monza, Brazil, etc

          2. lexusreliability? Monza & Brazil, LOL.

        2. the world knows who the real champion is.

          Verstappen. He clearly won the final race and ended the season with the most championship points.
          People are free to feel otherwise, but that doesn’t make it reality.

          1. title is now tainted

          2. @amam No it isn’t. Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. Only grumpy Lewis fans say this to make Max and RBR feel worse but it won’t work :)

          3. That’s exactly how it works Arnould. If enough people say it’s tainted, then it’s tainted. It’s as simple as that. If enough people laugh when Max’s first championship is mentioned, then it’s a laughing stock. When no book of f1 history gets written without mentioning an incident, then that incident is part of the championship story. There’s no way around it, these are all social terms and we are a social species.

        3. Yes! the world knows it’s Max!!!!!

        4. @sham

          Except he didn’t win it on track, he was nowhere near winning it in track until the FIA intervention.

          Not only Max won on track but also it was the most fair outcome, the one without major interventions. The way race direction went was the real problem, allowing only five cars to unlap themselves. A 1-lap “sprint race” with a rolling start in which all cars were allowed to unlap themselves (thus completely by the book) would have been possible if Masi hadn’t wavered for a while.
          So you should drop the narrative that Hamilton and Mercedes were robbed, it’s not the case, as even if there was a mistake from Masi, had he acted quickly making a correct and pro-competition call (“Let them race” approach which teams agreed upon) of finishing the race under green lights following the standard SC procedure, the result would probably be the same, but no issues with regs would remain.

        5. “MV is nothing but a fake champion, the world knows who the real champion is.”

          Some say that he takes long walks along The Seine with one Dietrich Von Styria late into the afternoons, and that his Spotify playlist only consists of irate radio messages from self serving team principals, remixed by DJ Squire….but all we know is, he’s called The Michael Masi!

  3. This man is delusional… Yes you won it on track but you received quite a lot of help. And if one considers the whole season then I think he would have definitely not have won it at all. For instance he should have been black flagged for brake checking Sir Lewis in Saudi Arabia and wait!!! There’s Brazil, ooh Monza was a good one as well. Max is incredibly quick but lacks any amount of introspection. I hope now he has won a championship he won’t race so desperately and will win his next championship in a cleaner and fairer way, especially with no handouts from the FIA.

    1. It is a championship of 22 races.
      So did he won it on track, yes he did.
      There have been more occasions in those 22 races where things could be decided otherwise, also on Hamiltons way of driving, or Bottas for that matter, but they did not, and the overall outcome of those 22 races made Verstappen champion!
      All off you who critisise Vertappens driving, it is a freaking motorrace!
      If you do not race eachother, there is no sport to watch, only the faster car being the 1st in a row of 20!
      Think about it!

      1. Must be missing something ? The purpose of the safety car is for no individual or team to get an advantage ???? Someone explain how that happened last weekend. Everyone accepted that whilst there were up and downs, the championship should be settled on the final race with best man wins. Sorry but Lewis annihilated Max on track and would be 8 x World Champion if it wasn’t for the cheating.

        Pepsi have just launched a new drink for cheats. It’s called the Pepsi Max !!

      2. I don’t see anyone criticizing Ver DRIVING. Are you sure you are reading the same posts?
        PS Motorracing is on the track, not on Masi’s both.

      3. William T Mullenberg
        16th December 2021, 7:30

        Rules for F1 were established when wrecks killed drivers, now cars are so safe the rules should be relaxed till a couple drivers die to set new safe driving standards? I wasn’t a Hunt nor Senna Fan, Niki Lauda paid dearly for his aggression even though he didn’t blatantly show total disregard for his competitors safety. If Max causes a death will you still defend him if it isn’t his own?

      4. What would you expect? We’ve just had 8 years of action free, processional Lewis leading from start to finish years. The entitlement and arrogance is staggering

        1. If Hamilton hasn’t bottled it at Baku or if they had an actually useful teammate they would have someone between Hamilton and Verstappen at Abu Dhabi acting as a buffer. Mercedes can only blame themselves.

          1. This is revision of history while throwing some facts in the mix. Sure Baku mishandling of brakes and Bottas underperforming were costly but Lewis and Mercedes managed to overcome all of that and dominated the actual race until Masi came up with rules of his own to undo their work.

          2. Masi did what every teamprincipal asked him to do, do not finish races under red flagg!
            If this situation was reversed, Mercedes and Hamilton would have wanted the same to happen.
            And in the manner of good sportsmanship Hamilton “decided” or “asked” Mercedes to not appeal, knowing it would never be changed back and knowing it would have hurt his reputation more than he like to addmit.
            Now in this point of view, offcourse he asked Mercedes to stop appealing, it is good for his reputation.
            So now stop crying, and whipe your english snotty noses and accept being the number 2 in motorsports from now on, because, just like football, the sport is not yours.

      5. “it is a freaking motorrace!” seems to be the go to excuse these days to excuse anything Vestappen does. Motorsport, like any sport, is governed by rules and when you throw them out in a misguided attempt to ‘enhance the show’ then it’s no longer a sport.

      6. Max did not win it……he was given it……it was handed to him……I have no objection to him winning it in a fair race……That was not a fair race……Micheal Masi knew Max had new tyres and Lewis had old ones and he was allowed to draw up alongside Lewis?????……The title was snatch from Lewis in the most unfair way!

    2. he won’t race so desperately

      – he will. Now, he knows 100% he can do anything – because he is Verstappen. There are different rules for him and the others.

      1. Yep. If they can’t figure out how to transparently and consistently apply some rulebook then I’ll find some other use for my time. Which is unfortunate since I was really looking forward to seeing what the teams do with the new spec cars next year. Now that might be moot since other things will be deciding the “races”.

        Given what Max has been allowed to do to the “sport” I really hope karma kicks in and Red Bull gets it wrong next year and that #1 car can’t make it out of the back of the pack. I know, too much to hope for but I can always dream…

  4. Indeed.
    The teams collectively agreed to having races finish under green racing conditions as their preference – the FIA gives it to them and then everyone freaks out as though they didn’t want it or couldn’t see it coming.

    It’s about time we all got over it, congratulated the participants and looked forward to next year – when things will probably get even crazier.
    It could be a lot worse – actually, it has been for 8+ years already.

    1. No. Finish under green “when possible” is what was said. It wasn’t possible under the rules based on the decision to let lapped cars pass. It should have finished under yellow.

      1. It would have been possible if they hadn’t waited so long to allow lapped cars through. You’d have had the same result. What would have been your argument then?

        1. I think they couldn’t let lapped cars unlap themselves with marshals on the track. As Mercedes and all those teams that did not pit calculated, tehre was no time to follow the SC procedures and have a racing lap.

          1. And even if it was possible to deal with lapped runners earlier, that was Masi’s mistake, but there is no rule I am aware of telling him when he must allow the lapped cars through. Therefore, while possibly a mistake, it isn’t against the rules. Red Bull and Max would have had a reason to be upset, but it is very different.

            What he did was. 2 wrongs don’t make a right, and he can’t (or at least shouldn’t be able to) just make up a brand new rule to “fix” and cover up that mistake.

        2. @spafrancorchamps
          Most likely as @jcost said, allowing lapped cars to unlap probably wasn’t possible earlier. But you are right: There would be no argument in that case. That’s not what happened though.

          When Mercedes decided to not pit Hamilton, they were counting on that there wouldn’t be enough time to restart the race – or at least not enough time to do that while letting lapped cars unlap themselves. “What if the SC period had been longer” is a flawed argument, because Mercedes probably would’ve done a different strategy call in that situation.

          1. They gambled, they lost.
            They’ve gambled before too – they won some and they lost some, just like every other competitor.

            The general rule of motor racing still always applies, of course: Be on the right tyre at the right time.
            Mercedes weren’t.

          2. S: Let’s imagine a scenario in which Hamilton had pitted and Masi had followed the rules:
            – Hamilton pits for a new set of tyres.
            – Verstappen obviously doesn’t but takes the track position instead.
            – Verstappen is P1 and Hamilton is P2 behind the SC.
            – Masi orders lapped cars to unlap themselves on lap 57, but (unlike in real life) follows the rules and the race ends behind the SC.
            – Verstappen wins the race and the championship.

            In this scenario, you’d also be deriding Mercedes’ strategy, right? The fact is that in real life Mercedes did a right call in a tricky situation, but they weren’t rewarded for that, because Masi decided to go against the rules.

          3. That scenario wouldn’t have played out though, @hotbottoms.
            Race Control wouldn’t have cleared the pack just to finish under SC, they would have instead held (all) lapped cars in position and blue-flagged them out of the way on the restart.
            The race would still have been finished under green and the winner decided in exactly the same way – on the track in competition.

            I don’t agree with Mercedes’ strategy call, no. They had the car speed to pass Verstappen even if they were in 2nd place and 5 (lapped) cars behind on fresh tyres. Verstappen’s tyres would have been substantially older and on a slower car.
            That’s also disregarding the VSC they they missed pitting under earlier in the race, of course. Another bad call IMO.

            Regardless – the winner is the car that crosses the line first.

          4. S:

            Race Control wouldn’t have cleared the pack just to finish under SC, they would have instead held (all) lapped cars in position and blue-flagged them out of the way on the restart.

            Or not. That’s not what Masi did in real life. But I agree that restarting the race on lap 57 without letting lapped cars unlap would’ve been the best decision in real life also. It’s a shame that Masi didn’t do it and now we have this mess.

            They had the car speed to pass Verstappen even if they were in 2nd place and 5 (lapped) cars behind on fresh tyres. Verstappen’s tyres would have been substantially older and on a slower car.

            I sort of agree with you. But you are missing two things: 1. The race could’ve still ended behind the SC in which case their fresh tyres would’ve been useless 2. If the race had been red flagged, they could’ve changed the tyres anyway without losing track position.

            To be honest, when I saw the damage from Latifi’s car, I also thought that either the race is going to be red flagged or it is going to end behind the SC.

          5. 1 – Correct. It could have ended under SC – but it was highly unlikely, given the timing of the incident.
            2 – The race wouldn’t have been red-flagged for that particular incident. It would have needed to be much more substantial than that to justify a red flag. More debris, a second car involved, blocking the track, significant damage to the barriers, perhaps…
            But not that incident as it was in reality.

            This was the final race of the season with the championship on the line – the world was watching and there was no way they were going to squander this opportunity. They need headlines, they need commercial exposure and they need to make up for (at least) the last 2 years.

          6. S:
            I think it’s baffling how Masi’s defender keep saying that red flagging the race wasn’t possible. I agree that it would’ve been artificial and probably against the spirit of the rules – but at least it wouldn’t have been directly against the established procedures in the rules and the situation would’ve been ambiguous. Yes, it would’ve sparked controversy and debate also, but at least there wouldn’t have been grounds for protesting. How Masi handled the situation was definitely against the rules.

            How can you say that red flagging the race was impossible, if you argue that Masi’s decision to throw out the rule book was the right one?

            For clarity: I don’t think red flagging the race would’ve been the best option. Green flags on lap 57 without letting lapped cars unlap would’ve been the best option.

          7. I’d probably agree with your choice of ending – but that isn’t what we got.
            And to be completely honest, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal – nor do I find it particularly surprising behaviour from the FIA.

            At the end of the day – I am a viewer and I sat down to watch a race, and that’s exactly what I got.
            A pretty good one, by F1 standards.

      2. Exactly what @skydiverian said. There were several ways the race could have ended with green flags and according to the rules. The problem is that the way Masi did it was against the rules.

        1. Everyone knew the procedure. Most were surprised when the unusual call came to not allow lapped car’s through. Everyone was stunned when he cleared only the cars between HAM and VER and start the race without the customary one lap post-safety car. Anyone who disputes this only needs to look at, and hear, the reactions from the other drivers. It was completely unpredictable and unprecedented, hence why it’s such a debacle now.

          What Masi did was to contrive a grandstand finish, plain and simple. A Hollywood style ending befitting the most hyped and publicised season ever. That’s the only thing he could possibly have in mind, otherwise why impulsively change a long standing, standard procedure which he and his predecessor have implemented and cited many times before? The guy overstepped the mark, but both he and the FIA are too arrogant to admit it and think it’s something they can just sweep under the carpet as they have many times before. It’s insulting that they are treating everyone with such contempt.
          If this is what they want from the ‘sport’, then fire Masi and hire Sylvester Stallone to direct the races in future.

          1. It was completely unpredictable and unprecedented, hence why it’s such a debacle now.

            I disagree @shakey66.
            I think it’s blown up because the lead changed after this action occurred. If Hamilton had held on, it would have barely raised an eyebrow.

      3. @skydiverian

        According to max and masi everything is possible if it aids redbul and max.

        Possible = must benefit max
        Not possible = must not benefit max

        All = we are joking we have masi rule them all rule so we can mean anything by all
        Any = anyone masi and redbul deems right amount

        Sc = necessary obviously
        RF = if everyone stopped and/ Max leading
        Sc in = if max has a chance of winning
        Sc out = instantly if max is in the hunt for a win.

        There I sorted the terms of a successful win on track for max fans.

    2. I am pretty sure no team agreed with the fia’s international sporting regulations be broken, if they did, they would be braking the same rules Masi did. The result will not stand to none MV fans, it’ll always go down as the title the FIA stole and gave to MV.

      Forever tainted and forever broken, the netflix show of F1

      1. Because apparently non MV fans are unable to look at the season critically and see verstappen lost plenty more points than hamilton did here, across the season, through bad luck.

        1. @esploratore1 To be fair, they did the same when Rosberg beat Hamilton as well. That was considered a “hollow championship” etc because Hamilton has more technical issues and because of Monaco etc…

          I just don’t think us Brits are generally very good losers. When we get knocked out of football tournaments every 2 years, there’s always a race to find who to blame. It’s either a referee, the manager, the guy taking a penalty… You rarely hear anyone say “the other team were just better than us – well done.”

      2. F1’s Sporting Regulations are broken at every single race, @Mosin.
        Track limits are the most obvious example, followed closely in recent times by leaving a competitor sufficient space and not gaining advantage while off the track., among others.

        “Oh, but this is different,” you probably say…. I don’t think it is.
        It’s the FIA interpreting and selectively applying their own regulations as they see fit – the same thing they’ve done at every single GP event that I’ve witnessed in the last 35+ years.
        There have been so many different interpretations and decisions that there is no consistent precedent for anything any more.

    3. Teams did not agree to throw out rules in order to do so. Don’t forget, this wasn’t just Hamilton and Vestappen who were affected, multiple drivers lost opportunities due to this.

    4. @S what they didn’t see coming was a race director that would ignore the rulebook

      “Oh, but this is different,” you probably say…. I don’t think it is.

      Yes, it is different. Very different. This wasn’t a judgement call. This was a clear violation of established procedure carried out by the very person whose job it is to uphold established procedure.

      1. I disagree @gardenfella72.
        It was still a considered judgement that affects the race, its running and its result.
        Knowingly allowing a car to break the rules and get away with it has little significant difference to interpreting a rule a specific way for a specific scenario. And let’s face it, the FIA’s function is to provide and apply whichever interpretation of their own rules they feel like at the time. They are not only F1’s administrator, they are F1’s owner, and so have a vested interest in its outcomes.

        To be completely honest, I don’t think too many other Race Directors would have done much different, in the circumstances. Green flag racing and finishing under competitive conditions are primary goals of any racing series.
        Sport is no longer just for competitors and purists – there are other factors at play. Like it or not.
        F1 is barely sport anyway. It’s mostly marketing business, so it’s hardly surprising that that factor should come into play at the climax of the (subjectively) best season F1 has enjoyed (and/or facilitated) for a long time.
        Reality isn’t as pure and focused as some may want it to be.

        1. Well spoken!!

      2. Actually your wrong

        The only reason the FIA has been allowed to police itself under EU and Sporting law is that has to be entirely and completely separate to any commercial activity which is owned by Liberty. That is the deal that Bernie struck years ago.

        Massi had absolutely zero right to intervene change alter or even consider that this race was any different to any other. Zero.

        What he has done is open the door to the EU breaking up the organisation. This is a door they have spent years trying to keep closed.

        Again – all he had to do is follow the regulations as stipulated and against which all teams pay substantial sums to partake in and contractually agree to compete in each season.

        Instead he completely ignored said rules, made up one of his own on the spot that no team had agreed to contractually and made a new champion for the commercial benefit of the rights holder. Completely against the narrative that should have played out under the regulations.

        It is irrelevant what happened in x race or last year or what the preference for a green flag finish was.

        The rules dictate the procedure. Precedence has been set and the race was completely altered.

        In short a mockery of something that is regulated by rules that ensure a fair sporting contest that impact hundreds of other organisations.

        1. @DrG – Could not have said it better

  5. Whatever you’ve gotta tell yourself. If the roles were reversed I doubt Max and Spiceboy would be gracious as Sir Lewis and Toto have been.

    1. Oh yeah, Toto and Mercedes just screams gracious

      1. @paeschli yes, in fact, the do. They have been magnanimous in defeat. Their quarrel with Masi and the FIA not their on-track adversaries.

        Both Mercedes and Hamilton have publicly congratulated Max and ​Red Bull. I don’t see how you can view that as anything but gracious.

  6. This speech will work better decades from now, but so close to what we all watched? No way Max. The speeded-up safety car procedure – as asked by Horner – gifted you a win, don’t try to make it look like you beat Lewis fair and square.

    1. Horner has no more control over Race Control’s decision making than Wolff does.
      The two are exactly as bad as each other.

      Verstappen did beat Hamilton fair and square – regardless of what (you think) Race Control may have done to influence the result.
      Had Hamilton been fast enough, he would have won it….

  7. It ha been disappointing that a lot of the frustration and anger has turned towards Verstappen. Can anyone name a driver who would have refused to take the win under the same circumstances?
    I think it best to direct the frustration of the rubbery rules and the Barnham & Baily show at Liberty Media and their puppets at the FIA.

    1. Paul Tracy Martin
      16th December 2021, 7:16

      Max could only do what he did and was instructed to do. That doesn’t make it right !!!!!!

    2. @johnrkh +1

      It’s definitely not Verstappen’s fault. I’m not a #33 fan but no driver would have done any different. In fact, this puts a big asterisk next to his championship, so it does him a disservice too.

      This one’s on the FIA and Masi. Liberty Media are screwing up F1. The promoter has no business influencing on-track decisions, especially when that influence leads to rules being ignored

      1. It won’t. He had a massive lead before being blueshelled in Silverstone and greenshelled in Hungary. That massive loss of almost 50 points gave Lewis a chance combined with the vastly improved Merc.

        To look before the summer break
        *Bahrain started it all with the track limits and the overtake with the wobble. 14 point swing
        *Baku: 11 point advantage negated due to Pirelli.
        *Silverstone: 0 vs 25 points, Lewis would have 6 less. Or if he passed him later, Verstappen would only lose 6 and not 26 points of his lead (they were way better than the rest, so the no2 always goes for FL).
        *Hungary: Verstappen was 2nd until he got Bottassed. Finished 9th. Normally he would have lost 6 points, but now it was 16.
        This already counts for at least 55 points before the summer break. With that gap, Mercedes would have never thrown many engines at it like they did.

        Post the summer break in a way, Monza was caused by Mercedes. They and RB both had a bad stop due to the rules wanted by Mercedes that brought them together on track. Verstappen was normally running for 2nd and Lewis for 4th.

        It would also wouldn’t have lead to the spice in the last couple of races.

  8. Davethechicken
    16th December 2021, 7:05

    How can you win something that you are given?

    1. Where is Sergio on the photo?

    2. I have asked the same thing for eight years now. Eight years of it. This “donk” era will end soon.

      1. I assume you’re talking about something other then F1, which is weird.

  9. If Verstappen accepts second and does not make shot for first, he has no place on the grid of f1.

    This is also the reason people crash into championship contenders trough the years. There is first and everyone else – that’s how the most legendary pilots approach the competition.

  10. Of course he won it on track. He proved beyond doubt over the entire season that the best driver won. He took the challenge to the mighty Mercs and was victorious, not even counting for his Baku, Silverstone and Hungary issues that were completely out of his control.

    Its easy to say ham lost it on the last lap, when he actually lost it over 22 races. Max would have wrapped the title up in the Autumn if not for those issues mentioned.

    Put it another way, if Ham deserves titles cruising around with next to no competition for multiple years, then Max certainly deserves his World Championship title after having to battle it out with the mighty Mercs for the entire season!

    1. Yes he won it on track, after an application of the SC rules that I’ve not ever seen in 40 years of watching F1.
      So given the fact that it needed a change to the rules to “win” the race and thus the championship how can Max deserve it?

      As for Lewis winning with no competition you know this is a team sport, drivers and cars!

      1. Verstappen and Red Bull did not “change the rules.”
        They ‘deserve’ the victory as much as anyone ever does in F1.

        The WCC is a team competition, sure.
        The WDC is (essentially) an individual contest, however. But the driver with the best car almost always wins it, even though they may not be the ‘most deserving.’

    2. Well said. Hamilton had so much luck and help from officials this year that this last lap luck for Verstappen really was just evening things out a bit.

      1. @kub

        Hamilton had so much luck and help from officials this year

        You spelled Verstappen wrong

      2. Hamilton didn’t get much help from the stewards seeing as they glossed over so many things Vestappen did. If you want a prime example of Hamilton’s lack of luck, see qualifying in Brazil

        1. In a normal event, you start the race last. He was to start the SQ last, so in a way, he was lucky the race was 24 laps longer with a reset after 25% of the race (and all the lower teams out of the way). From there on, it was quite simple.

    3. So overall Mercedes had the best car but Red Bull had more poles, led more laps and won more races because Verstappen is streets ahead of anybody in F1 and can win races in a Fiat Panda?

      Max is great, he doesn’t need this.

      1. Newey states that on balance, RB had the best car

        1. It’s his brainchild, he would say that

          It’s a bit ridiculous watching both Merc & RBR teams playing underdog and saying the competition has a faster car. They are overrating their pilots while underrating themselves.

  11. Roland B (@theboldoftheboard)
    16th December 2021, 7:15

    Checo seems to be so flat… No surprise after that exhausting defense…

  12. Agreed.

    Plus if the FIA were so desperate for VER to win they would have made HAM give the place back after the lap 1 turn 6 incident.

    Whenever there is a close outcome in sport or an election conspiracy theories emerge.

    Yes there needs to be some better stewarding moving forward – but It’s time to move on.

  13. Davethechicken
    16th December 2021, 7:36

    Max said before the race he would only respect the result if it was “fair”.
    Funny how he changed his mind!!!

    In fairness to him, he also said he got treated differently (by stewards and FIA) to other drivers, so for once he was right on that point.

  14. I find it very difficult to accept that Red Bull would have just shook hands and walked away given their behaviour at Silverstone, with Marko talking about race bans and Horner staging recreations of the incident to try and change the result of the race.

    I don’t blame Mercedes or Red Bull for this either, the system allows and seemingly encourages this sort of lobbying and behaviour. Hopefully proper team-race director communications protocols come out of this.

    1. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
      16th December 2021, 9:22

      @oweng Indeed. The footage at Silverstone shows Verstappen turning onto Hamilton’s line, however you wish to apportion blame for the crash it is clear that Verstappen forced Hamilton to back out or crash. Yet Red Bull and its supporters seem to have stoked a dangerous narrative that ‘Hamilton tried to kill Verstappen’. Honestly, I fear for Hamilton’s safety if the championship is handed to him in court, Red Bull has been trying to incite a lynch mob for most of the season, Hamilton will need bodyguards if the court awards him his 8th.

  15. He didn’t win it on track.
    He was nowhere near winning but was given the opportunity of a lifetime and NOBODY would have ket that go. Max didn’t call the shots, he did his job as a racing driver.

    1. So what you are saying is, Max won it on track.
      Ah semantics…

  16. They didnt won, they where gifted.

  17. I keep hearing “deserves”. This driver, that driver deserves the win. Fine, whatever. That doesn’t mean they should get the win.

    Sports should be fair, and by that I mean run according to the rule book. Both drivers have had plenty of dodgy stewards calls this year, and the arguments that all sports have dodgy ref calls but they need to be accepted with grace and the arguments we need to make the stewarding a lot more consistent and applied equally to every car are both good, valid arguments. They are also a massive distraction.

    I keep seeing parallels with other sports being drawn. Oh, yes a player dove in the box, but you can’t undo a refs decision to award a penalty after the full time whistle has blown, and so on, endless parallels with dodgy ref calls.

    Ref calls are not the problem, Merc and Red Bull have accepted all calls against them, eventually. But we are not talking about a ref call. Masi is not a referee. Masi is the race director.

    A far better parallel is if during that last minute penalty, the stadium manager parked a lawnmower in the goal, leaving an area that the goalie couldn’t reach, then the taking team putting a goal away while the goalie clatters into the mower. It’s not fair and it’s not sports, and if for some reason the ref watched this happened, then shrugged and said “Ah, look, the rules say that the stadium manager can use the lawnmower how he likes, what can we do, we acknowledge that the penalty wasn’t taken according to the rules”.

    In no other sport would it be acceptable for a non ref official to break the rules effecting the outcome of the biggest championship in the sport – and, I’m not accusing Masi of favouring RB, merely of trying to up the excitement – which in some ways is commendable, but needed to be done by the book – it’s would be bad enough if it was a ref breaking the rules. But this, it’s unacceptable and needs to be put right.

    Furthermore, there absolutely is a route to legally end the race and swap the positions. Run according to the book, we already have a process to end a race under a safety car, and it works almost exactly like we saw. The safety car pulls in at the same time, Lewis becomes the safety car for the last lap ( because even though it’s a safety car finish, we want the cars to cross the line by themselves). So by the book, the only discrepancy is Max passed the safety car. Obviously he doesn’t get penalised for that, but he is reclassified in his proper position in the line. And I hate to say it, I’ve not seen a lawyers take that doesn’t call this outcome as guaranteed an outcome as can be achieved. Then again, I don’t speak Dutch, so I would be very interested to read a lawyer interpreting any other outcome.

    But I don’t want that to happen. I love the sport, and I love the passion of Max’s fans (not all of their actions) and I don’t want to see them hurt. Losing them from the sport hurts us all in the long run, but the law is blind. It doesn’t care about “deserves” or “ good for the sport”. It cares only about justice. Every step forward now is adjudicated by lawyers, not sportsmen. And lawyers are trained to desensitise themselves from right or wrong and only seek justice according to the rules as written.

    I think this means the fia need to react, today. Before it’s too late. They need to take a leaf out of Max and Lewis’ book. Yes they’ve had their fallouts this year, but they have remained respectful, in the end, to the end. They are both a credit to the sport and have shown how to be gracious. That’s what the fia needs to do now. If they hope to stop the sport getting damaged, they need to accept what they did, and be gracious about it. Not making vague statements like last nights “it’s the fans fault for not understanding what happened that’s tarnishing the sport” . They need to humble themselves, admit their wrong and show how they intend to stop it ever happening again. They don’t even need to remove Masi, quite frankly. We’ve all made dodgy decisions under pressure. It’s what you do next that matters. I think that’s what Mercedes really want as well. We’ve all seen how Lewis coped with defeat, we’ve all heard he asked Toto not to persue this. He doesn’t want the title. So I think Mercedes will drop this if things are made right by the fia.

    1. Excellent point re Masi. As you say, he is not the referee, the Stewards are. As much as Masi deserves criticism for his actions, so do the Stewards (or referees) for not doing anything about it.

  18. He’s not wrong. Even if Mercedes manage to get the results overturned, technically, he did win it on the track on the day. A lot of people will remember that.

    1. @skipgamer you don’t win something by having it handed to you and a lot of people will remember that too

  19. I can understand that Mercedes is feeling down and perhaps mistreated, but that is still no reason to not send the Formula E team ,which has nothing to do with F1, to a photoshoot of the FIA gala.

    How sore and bitter do you need to be, to let your emotions control the business and the day to day running of other teams and other parts of the company.

    It really is a lesson into being the sorest loser in the world.

  20. I pretty certain that if the truth of what happened in Abu Dhabi ever comes out it will be recorded as the biggest sportin scandal of all time.

    Prior to the race, I predicted the following: “Lewis will win the battle on track, but Max will cross the line first – as a consequence of a fake crash involving Gasly or Tsunoda”

    In hindsight I can see that this would have been far too obvious; far better a Merc engine driver i.e. a crash caused by a Merc engine driver makes the case harder to answer/removes ‘obvious’ suspicion. Latifi (i.e. his Father’s companies) was the obvious candidate. What happened may never be unearthed, but I’m certain something went on behind the scenes.

    And yes, I understand this all sounds like a conspiracy theory, but those of you who have followed F1 for years will know the precendent. I believe that what we saw in Abu Dhabi was a brilliantly executed version of Singapore 2008. A back up plan, that the FIA, unwittingly, facilitated.

    1. Did you watch the replay of Latifi’s crash?

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        16th December 2021, 9:26

        It looked unspectacular like a rank amateur he put his foot down when he shouldn’t have.

    2. I understand this all sounds like a conspiracy theory,

      As long as you don’t have evidence to back up your claims it is a conspiracy theory, I’m afraid.

    3. @xpucksterx. Yeah right. Because they deployed the SC a second after LH drove by the pit entry. Same for the VSC. LH was penalised for cutting Corner 5. All heavily in favour of MV. And Latify couldn’t put his car a lap sooner in the wall. Or do you also have a conspiracy theory about a bank manager that didn’t deposit the fee in time.

      If it was rigged they should and would have done a better job. Not one with so much controversy.

      So please get to the GP for a general check and some antipsychotics.

  21. Michael Masi and race control messed up – no denying that. But that doesn’t take away the grit, determination and never-say-die attitude Verstappen and Red Bull demonstrated. Max made two extra pitstops. The pitstop during the Latifi VSC period gave Max the edge. Mercedes could have pitted Lewis then, but they didn’t. The extra pitstop gave the slower Red Bull the edge over the much faster Mercedes of Lewis (strangely, Valtteri’s Mercedes doesn’t look that fast). That strategic thinking ultimately won Max Verstappen the race and the championship. We’ve seen this at Jeddah too – Red Bull’s strategic thinking has been better than Mercedes. That, coupled with Max’s sheer talent, has taken them to the Drivers’ Championship. The title is every bit deserved, even if Mercedes and Hamilton fans parade around the notion that Lewis is the victim. The same Lewis who punted Verstappen to what could have been a deadly crash at Silverstone complains about Max pushing him wide at Interlagos. And let’s not forget that he got away with cutting the track earlier in the race. He wasn’t asked to give the place back, though he should have. Who was the victim there? Max. Still, just because Lewis lost, he must be paraded around as the victim to win the sympathy of people. Masi should go and Christian Horner himself has admitted Masi’s incompetence. But a win is a win and a title is a title if both have been won on track in green flag conditions.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      16th December 2021, 9:28

      You have also seen races where the lead car generally keeps track position. RBR have done that and lost races.

    2. Sorry PT, you’re bending the facts to suit your narrative.

      RB’s approach was born of hope. Hope is not a strategy. The circumstances of the race enabled RB to gamble, and keep gambling. The gamble only paid off because of Latifi’s ‘fake’ crash.

      Lewis cut the track because if he had not done so there would have been a crash caused, as usual, by Max’s overly aggressive driving. Race Control – who have access to far more info than you or I – deemed it to be the case that Lewis returned the advantage he had gained. If Lewis had pitted – i.e. both on fresh tyres for the final lap – do you really believe that the result would have been anything other than a crash caused by Max?

      You make the point that Lewis caused the crash in Silverstone. You are wrong. Lewis may well have been “more at fault”, but the real cause of the crash was – again! – Max’s overly aggressive driving style. You don’t understand that there is a limit. And, as Lewis rightly pointed out: “Max is over the limit”. When Lewis retires, and Max goes head2head with Leclerc, you’ll finally understand. Every wheel to wheel encounter will end in a crash, rendering F1 – as sport – untenable/unwatchable.

      In short, during wheel to wheel encounters, so that F1 is both tenable and not dangerous, there is a point at which a driver needs to yield. Max doesn’t accept this. Hence, Silverstone, and Monza, which you conveniently excluded from your “deadly crash” narrative.

  22. Totally deserved championship. With the 2nd best racepace car on the grid. Amazing performance this season. I hope RB is giving this man some good cars the following seasons and we’ll see some more titles coming.

    1. @Slimmie205

      Absolutely!

    2. He had the best car for the majority of the year.

    3. otally deserved championship. With the 2nd best racepace car on the grid.

      Newey said RB had the overall best car

      1. The best qualifying car for sure. But the majority of the season Mercedes had the upper hand on sunday’s pace. Especially the last races. Maybe because of the ‘rocket’ engine? Bottas was nowhere near Verstappen and Hamilton this season.

    4. Yes, Verstappen was so fast at Abu Dhabi – a star for sure. Lewis couldn’t catch him throughout the entire race despite Bottas slowing Max down and Lewis putting 18 sets of tyres for free. I’ve never seen speed like Max’s that day. And Lewis was given an unfair advantage on the last lap but Max kept his spot. What a driver!!!

      1. it still hurts does it ;)

  23. Two takeaways for me at this point:

    1.) Mercedes must protest, for the good of the sport. The recent FIA statement is a joke and shows they will not take it seriously enough. They need to be forced to do so. This is about far more than the last lap of the last race of 2021, it’s about a sport that has willingly placed “the show” over fair competition.

    2.) I would like Mercedes, when lodging their appeal, to explicitly state they are not looking to overturn the result of the WDC and are seeking an annulment of the race result. This punishes the FIA, but not Max, who bares zero responsibility for what happened. I don’t think Lewis will want to be part of trying to get the result overturned in court either, no matter how likely he would have been to win the title had the rules been followed correctly.

  24. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
    16th December 2021, 9:26

    Perfectly understandable that Verstappen feels he deserves it, having done nothing personally to call the title into question. But the fact remains that the Race Director didn’t follow the FIA’s rules on the safety car procedure, that’s not a trifling point because in flouting his own rules he handed the championship to Verstappen.

  25. Max didn’t win the race on track. It was stolen from Hamilton and handed to Max on a plate.

  26. Many of the reports of what Verstapppen has said since that race gives the impression of a hypocritical young man with little self awareness.

    For the sake of himself, his team and F1 I hope the reporting is giving a false impression of the real man.

  27. There will be no asterisk against against Max’s name! Proclaim the very people who after 14 years still demand a Glock shaped asterisk against Hamilton’s first WDC. And that one is because a non player in the WDC put the wrong tyres on.

    I don”t see an asterisk against either btw.

  28. I don’t begrudge Verstappen getting to keep the title, but for him to make the statement that they won it on track, like it was legitimate, makes me feel a bit cringey, we, you, everyone knows how and why you won, the very least you can do is be humble and grateful for the gift you received.

  29. No, Max. You received a cheated gift on the track! See the difference, Max?

  30. Max- 2021 Netflix Champion…

  31. Wolff after Silverstone “We won the British Grand Prix, after losing five races, it was Lewis’ home Grand Prix, that’s why the celebration was high,” Wolff added.

    “Again, it depends on what perspective you look at, if Verstappen is in hospital with precautionary checks, and he didn’t feel well whilst you lost you can have that perception. It needs to be respected. It’s motor racing.

  32. Max got fresh soft tires, passed five cars, and made up four seconds on track… in the pits. The race stewards made the call, not any driver nor any team. Disappointing.

  33. I am sure a lot of the disagreements and animosity between drivers and teams is hyped up by the media just to sell stories.

    Which i find that very distasteful.

    A lot of comments from any driver and team are pushed by the desire to win of course sometimes that desire does cross the line but i understand and dont go for the hyperbole.

    Max is a great driver and if things fall in to place he would be a world champion.

    However i cannot agree with such a statement and i dont think he did win it on track or unaided.

    Whilst it would be hard to take the title away from him due to technicalities it is better he says little and certainly should not be filled with glee the way he attained this title. Better he says little because the truth is not glorifying Max at all.

    Of course over time the circumstances may be pushed to the background and less talked about.

    But the truth is very different and cannot be erased.

    If, as his detractors say, Lewis only wins when he has the fastest car.

    Then for now it should be said Max Verstapppen only wins when he has the fastest car and the race director’s assistance !

  34. The second is true.
    The first is BS, in typical fraudstappen style

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