Max Verstappen Is Defended By A Former Mercedes Engineer, Who Also Expresses Concern For Michael Masi.

Multiple rules and regulations were breached by former race director Michael Masi at the expense of Lewis Hamilton during the 2021 season finale, which cast a dark cloud over the event.

One year after “that” eventful race in Abu Dhabi, it’s still dominating the news, with more issues and opinions on the contentious event emerging from different angles in recent times.

Max Verstappen won his very first F1 title in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix because race director Michael Masi flouted the rules and regulations. This caused Lewis Hamilton to be deprived of an eighth F1 title by Masi’s “human error” even though he was only a half-lap away from doing so.

The incident that occurred in the final laps at the Yas Marina Circuit was Masi’s error, and neither Verstappen nor Hamilton can be held responsible.

Masi decided to just let the lapped cars between the duo to unlap themselves after a late Safety Car deployment, with Verstappen and Hamilton running first and second, respectively. Then he promptly removed the Safety Car.

If the regulations had been obeyed, all the lapped cars would have been permitted to go, and the Safety Car would’ve completed one more lap. The race would have ended with a Safety Car, giving Hamilton the win and making him the record-breaking eight-time world champion.

However, Verstappen succeeded in overtaking Hamilton on the very last lap, giving him the victory and the championship under the most unlikely conditions.

Surprisingly, Paddy Lowe, an ex-Mercedes executive director and engineer, said he believed Masi “did his job” and that he felt “sorry” for him. He told PlanetF1 that: “I did feel sorry for the race director [Masi] actually, I think he got the wrong end of that really unfairly to me, There was no right or wrong answer there. He did his job, he was the ref.”

Verstappen had a much smoother season in 2022 as he won the championship rather convincingly. His 15 victories contributed significantly to his dominance of the season, and Lowe said that it was satisfying to witness the relentless 25-year-old win the championship “without any argument” after the criticism he faced at the conclusion of 2021.

Lowe added: “Good to see Max secure a championship without any argument, I was quite happy that he won it last year, actually – which is probably controversial, but Formula One is a sport of jeopardy. It always has been.”

“Nothing’s fair in Formula One. I’ve been on the wrong side of fairness many, many times and then [on] the right side of good luck as well.

“That’s the nature, that’s the interest, that’s the excitement of the sport, actually. It’s not a sport where everything should go to plan and always the best person by some analysis should win. That’s why we watch and love the sport and there’s never a right answer anyway to anything.”