Call F1’s championship finale tainted, but not its deserving new champion

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The possibility that the gripping, season-long championship fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton would come to an unworthy ending was widely anticipated.

The season had already seen multiple collisions between the title rivals, bitter rows over the technical regulations and a series of baffling calls by race control. In the end, all too predictably, it was the latter which provoked a controversy which cast a shadow over the conclusion of the championship.

In the aftermath, conspicuous silences betrayed the obvious fact that this was not a finale F1 could be proud of. Naturally Red Bull were celebrating – as far as they were concerned, they’d won – while from Mercedes there came not a word for almost four days.

FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, whose controversial call was at the centre of the dispute, did not take questions from the media or even the official F1 channel after the race. F1’s motorsport director Ross Brawn did not issue his usual post-race column hailing the high points of the latest race. A social media post from the governing body raving about the final race was swiftly pulled as it became clear Mercedes were seriously considering taking the matter legal.

On Thursday F1 was let off the hook by Mercedes’ decision not to press ahead. Team principal Toto Wolff is adamant they would have been successful, and said the chief reason they chose not to proceed was that even winning the case would not restore Hamilton’s lost title.

Safety Car, Yas Marina, 2021
Analysis: The four minutes that changed the destiny of the 2021 world championship
We’ll never find out whether or not he was right about their chances of winning. RaceFans sought expert opinion, which backed Wolff. But Mercedes’ decision to stay its hand spared F1 weeks if not months of legal wrangling, and came just in time for Verstappen to be handed his championship trophy at the FIA prizegiving.

The key issue at stake was whether Masi’s 2020 decision to continue a Safety Car period until all cars had un-lapped themselves because the rules require it (in his words) was consistent with his 2021 decision to hurriedly end a Safety Car period while only allowing a portion of the backmarkers to rejoin the lead lap. Clearly, it was not.

Masi chose to allow the minimum number of cars to un-lap themselves which would remove any obstacles between Verstappen and his target, while leaving the Red Bull driver protected from his closest rival behind by lapped drivers who were told to keep their positions.

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This decision made a mockery of any notion of sporting fairness. Not just for the title contenders, but many of their rivals. “I don’t understand,” said Lance Stroll as he asked why he was being told to stay a lap down while others were given a lap back. “I should be able to overtake the Safety Car. What the fuck?” Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris and others expressed a mixture of disbelief, confusion and astonishment over the unprecedented decision.

Report: F1’s midfield runners left “speechless” and confused by controversial late restart
With interest in F1 rocketing thanks to its first proper title fight in years, and swift arrangements having been made for Sunday’s race to air live on free platforms in both contenders’ home countries, this was a magnificent opportunity for F1 to win legions of new fans. It blew it spectacularly.

Many of those first-time viewers will have concluded this is not a sport but motoring’s WWE facsimile: A car-themed, made-for-television spectacle where the blows are scripted and the rules are devised on the fly in order to contrive a show. And who could blame them after seeing that?

This dismal end to the season was far less than either of its protagonists deserved. Verstappen and Hamilton may have had their run-ins, but they have also dazzled us with sublime, superior driving. Despite their clashes they have given each other credit and raced ferociously hard. Much of it was a joy to watch until the final lap.

With so much invective still flying around six days after the chequered flag dropped, there are two points which must be stated about F1’s new world champion. First, the shameful end to the season in Abu Dhabi was no fault of Verstappen’s. As he put it, he saw a green light and he raced. You cannot expect a racing driver to do anything else.

Second, while Mercedes are right to say Hamilton was robbed of the title by forces outside his control, that does not make Verstappen an undeserving champion. And, to Mercedes’ credit, they have been swift to praise the job he has done. Others should follow their lead.

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F1’s newest world champion
The staunchest Verstappen detractor might try to argue away many of his big points losses this year. ‘The Silverstone crash?’ ‘Too uncompromising with Hamilton.’ ‘Baku tyre failure?’ ‘Yeah but what did Pirelli say about tyre pressures afterwards?’ And so on.

But then look to a race like Hungary. Verstappen was blamelessly eliminated on the first lap of the race, which easily cost him more points than he gained on the final lap of the season. Nothing like that happened to Hamilton all year. Indeed, there were quite a few occasions where Hamilton got the rub of the green, notably the red flags in Imola and Silverstone. Outside of Verstappen’s few no-scores, he either won (10 times) or placed second (eight times).

Granted, in Abu Dhabi Hamilton was more than just unlucky, he was the victim of a wrongheaded decision which put the show above the sport. He didn’t deserve to lose the title that way – nor would Verstappen had the roles been reversed.

The FIA has promised a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” in response. It’s doubtful any “clarification” is needed or that much of the “misunderstanding” they also referred to exists.

Their priority should be to understand what went wrong, explain why and ensure no championship is “tarnished” this way again.

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

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253 comments on “Call F1’s championship finale tainted, but not its deserving new champion”

  1. A wise, balanced, entirely correct comment article, Keith. Let’s hope it catches on.

    1. Yep. Wholeheartedly agree. It’s not how anyone wanted it to end. I hope in the future, it did doesn’t spoil Max’s Championship. On balance; either of them deserved it, they were both incredible. Neither Max, Lewis, Christian or Toto didn’t made the safety car / lapped cars call.

      The question is the role of the Race Director, not if Max or Lewis is more deserving. They gave us 22 races of that, and they were both brilliant.

    2. @hahostolze yes but I want to read about the expert opinion.

      Hamilton was more than just unlucky, he was the victim of a wrongheaded decision which put the show above the sport. He didn’t deserve to lose the title that way – nor would Verstappen had the roles been reversed.

      Exactly. Had race direction not allowed any car to unlap it would had been the same. However I object the notion that race direction put the show ahead of the sport. Race direction locked themselves to a mistake by that point, though they prevented a worse outcome by allowing some cars to unlap. Likely a calculated move, it was very unlikely that Sainz was going to threaten Max in any way. They chose the lesser of two evils as race direction put themselves in such scenario, effectively they took the wrong decision and then failed to take the right choice swiftly and ended up with a bodged one.
      I assume they went back on the original call because of how it looked like. I think they believed they were correcting themselves and not putting the show ahead of the sport. I think it was clear that it was not a choice as it all started with the original call which was a mistake.

    3. Pretty much sums it all up
      The finale was tainted but it was only a technicality: Masi’s waffling, first saying no unlapping, then going for the unlapping but too late to unlap all (any?) of the lapped cars. Had Masi done his job properly, going for the unlapping of all lapped cars as soon as the track was clear, everything would have been cricket and the results would stand the same. The one with more reason to complain is Sainz as he had it much tougher to fight for P2 or P1. But seriously, nobody in their right mind seriously believes that Carlos’ Fezza could challenge Max’s RBR or Sir’s Merc.
      About Nico’s 2016 WDC, all the fanchildren repeat it was only due to a mech failure and conveniently forget a long string of Sir’s botched starts (which should include Mexico, but Sir got away with the cross-country mile, as usual). Now we have the same. It was not only Masi’s waffling. Without the uselessness of Valtteri as a wingman, which allowed Max his free pitstops; without the botched strategic calls of Merc staying out of the pits (against their driver’s opinion btw); and without Sir’s lackadaisical driving in the last lap, forgetting to defend and leaving the door wide open for Max, the race and the championship would have most likely gone the other way.

      1. Very well said hyoko. This comment normalizes the whole last-lap farce to me (and the championship loss to Nico). True that the race director intervened unfairly, but Merc and Lewis also dropped the ball at key moments in spite of the lion spirited comeback into the championship fight. I would’ve never imagined the two drivers would be equal on points coming into the last race after Mexico. I can’t agree more on Valterri’s ungainly wingman role playing a critical part here. If it were Redbull in Mercedes’ shoes, they would’ve thrown everything at it, and swapped Bottas for Russell mid-season! No doubt that was a critical factor (think Perez in Austin too v/s Bottas in Russia and I forget somewhere else where he took engine penalty along with Max), but Merc are too classy for that, and you can’t expect them to be so desperate after 7 constructors on the trot.

      2. Wow, this is one of the best opinions that puts it in the right context.
        Masi was doomed if he didn’t allow the cars to unlap themselves.
        Masi was doomed if he did allow the cars to unlap themselves.
        The only quirk was the swap between the two options. But hen, think about the pressure…

      3. Nice try hyoko, but considering one of your posts about Lewis was deleted recently for being extremely offensive, forgive me for choosing to interpret this comment as biased.

    4. Yep, thank you Keith!

    5. Completely in agreement with everything you say there @keithcollantine. Excellent article.

    6. I’m joining my peers to praise your job Keith. As an Hamilton fan, I wholeheartedly subscribe to your points: Verstappen is a worthy champion but the FIA must look at the breaches to its own rules and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    7. Britain should get over it finally.

      And Russian F1 commentator said it very right. Not a quote, but close meaning. It’s a championship, not a cup (playoff). Every race is equally important, not just one last. Some races favored Verstappen, some favored Hamilton. And more fovored Hamilton than Verstappen. This is just one race that favored Verstappen. There is nothing wrong in a wish to finish a race in a racing way. And those 3 who were not allowed to lap back would not change anything for Verstappen and Hamilton. That was just one of lesser races where Verstappen was more luckier. And that was Mercedes mistake not to pit Hamilton to change tyres.

      That’s how entire world sees it, if you’d read Spanish headlines, Italian, French, Brazilian, Russian etc etc etc.

      Even stewards favored Hamilton entire season which was very well showed by a poll here just before Abu Dhabi. 63% for favored Hamilton, 34% for unbiased and only 3% for favored Verstappen. Out of 26 thousand votes.

      1. I fail to see how anyone can claim Masi did something wich wasn’t allowed, there have been no legal actions that suggest he did rule outside the rulebook.

        Abu Dhabi has made a certain category of fans, media and pundits to what happened in Bahrain… how can a driver going outside the track no less than 29 times win a race…? The rules are very clear on this matter… Max move on Lewis was outside the track….however Lewis forced him wide… In the last race Lewis was allowed to go outside the track again…by miles…. the stewards felt Max pushed him wide…. No two incidents are exacly the same, but a lot looked rather similar…Max often wasn’t on the ling end of the straw.

      2. Have to agree on this point; only the British press is now pursuing this ‘unfair’/’rules broken’ line. Nobody else sees it this way, and while Masi should have made an either/or decision and either let all unlapped cars through or none at all, it doesn’t affect the fact that the final lap was a fair shootout between Verstappen and Hamilton, and Lewis lost because of Merc’s strategy and gamble that the safety car would not come in. He lost the race fair and square in wheel to wheel combat. Yes it was gutting, yes it was unfair in that Verstappen had a tyre advantage – but that isn’t illegal. That’s Formula One.

        Personally I see nothing tainted or controversial about the result. I just see a lot of people using Masi’s hesitation and inconsistency as a cover for having to accept an admittedly distressing but entirely fair truth – that Lewis lost.

    8. I disagree. @keithcollaine you’re making the argument that across the season Max is deserving.

      Max’s driving in Brazil wasn’t punished, which led to his driving in Saudi. Of course he has the right to complain by saying that he thought it was fair when it had been just 2 races prior. That’s why he did that, despite him being arguably wrong in both.

      I get the argument that Lewis may have benefitted when Max lost out but I could argue the other way with Saudi and Brazil (and the lack of penalties, I feel that Max should have finished much further back than he did in both). I also take issue that Max’s 5 place grid penalty in Russia (for crashing into Lewis in Italy) effectively wasn’t enforced as Red Bull took an Engine Penalty. That effectively meant that the 5 place penalty was never applied. Legal, but ethical?

      That’s before we get to the weather in Russia, which really helped Max get to that podium finish. And the “race” in Belgium which should never have counted.

      So I feel like both were even going into the last race, on points, punishments and luck. And the problem is that you make decisions based on the now and what you need to do based on the current standings. I get why Lewis didn’t pit in Abu Dhabi as for all we know, the race would have ended under yellow. While I hope that wouldn’t have happened, the way race control ended the race leaves me very suspicious. To accept Max as a deserving champion I have to accept that race control got it right and that just doesn’t seem reasonable under the regulations, so I can’t accept Max as a deserving champion.

  2. I agree with the sentiment in your column. I also think it’s important to note that the correct result (VER directly behind HAM) was achieved. It was Masi’s slow reaction that caused him to need a “makeup call” to rectify the order of the field. When you listen back to driver radio, you can hear VET and ALO immediately diagnose the situation and indicate that they needed to move the lapped traffic out of the way, at least three laps to the end. But once Masi missed that opportunity, his bending of the rules was unacceptable, even if, in spirit, correct.

  3. Well deserved champion is lewis Hamilton then masi everybody knows his robbery and gave max underserved win and the title simple as that. The fia has a problem fans calling this championship farce and tainted even max knows he was gifted it is just facts . History will remember this fixed championship

    1. I seem to remember die-hard Hamilton fans saying the similar things when Rosberg won. ie. Mercedes robbed Hmailton / Toto robbed Hamilton / championship is forever tainted. I think its time to have some dignity and recognise Max as the deserved champion that he is.

      1. Plenty of Ferrari fans were furious in 2008 that McLaren were allowed to race at all after Spygate when Hamilton won that title. 13 years later no one remembers.

        1. Crickets… for Hamilton fans it was not his fault. Timo, where are you?

          1. No it wasn’t and he was the worthy champion that year.

        2. Stop making up things just because they happened 13 years ago. Complaints about Spygate didn’t surface to any discernible extent in 2008. I challenge you to post a link to any such material (and there’s plenty dating back to earlier than that even here).

          1. They were there from the debates I was having with people on forums after first coming to the surface in 2007 – https://www.racefans.net/2007/09/13/mclaren-ferrari-espionage-hearing-latest/

            “rob
            13th September 2007, 21:58

            for the british is not important “how” but “who” wins the championship:mr.Hamilton of course ,the best driver ever in the planet …bla bla bla……Even if is driving a a mclaren with Ferrari knowhow and all the other parts , is still ok as long he can win ; everything illegal for any other team will be fine as long is a british driver driving a british car.”

            “Robert McKay
            14th September 2007, 10:27

            “As for drivers keeping points – the only sensible (though controlversial) option.”

            No, it’s not, and I’m a Mclaren fan. If the FIA thinks the team gained from the Ferrari data, and the car is thus dodgy, t”

            They softened in 2008 because people moved on, but I deffo recall people saying the 2008 car was influenced by the spygate and Hamilton was not worthy of the title and all the same BS that gets thrown about now, but that’s my memory, and I can’t be bothered to go through 13 year old posts that I am no longer a member of. DOn’t believe me, that’s fine. My point is actually supportive of Hamilton, not an attack

          2. You said 2008 but brought up examples from 2007 – which proves my point exactly. All the moaning at the end of the 2008 season was about Glock (I wonder if any of those moaners watched Lando in Russia this year) and barely anything about the events of 2007.

          3. Interesting take Alan. Though I can’t see anyone called Alan make a comment on that article, so I can’t prove if you posted at all or under a different username.

            And it suggests my suspicions about you are correct, that all I’m seeing is someone who just doesn’t like Lewis and is using any argument to reinforce that viewpoint. That includes the spam posting of the same regulation in the comments to justify the result in Abu Dhabi, rather than looking at this in a sporting context.

            So far as 2007 goes, I may be wrong but I remember McLaren not actually using any of the data they acquired via Mike Coughlan, so banning the team didn’t make sense.

      2. 100% have to agree. I’ve heard this kind of argument in various forms over the last 10 years or so whenever Lewis has been beaten. In 2009, Button didn’t deserve the title because he ‘had a car advantage’. Then in 2011 he only beat Lewis because ‘Lewis had a bad year and wasn’t at his best’. So it doesn’t count?

        Then Vettel didn’t deserve it because his car was better. Next 2016 and Rosberg wasn’t worthy because Mercedes had ‘conspired’ against Lewis.

        Unfortunately it has worn rather thin over the years. The Abu Dhabi race is just another example of this for me. Merc passed up two opportunities to pit for fresh rubber and they thought the race would end under the SC. They got both strategy and tactics wrong. I think that stems from an unwillingness to race Verstappen wheel-to-wheel, otherwise they could have pitted Lewis under the VSC and let him race back to and past Verstappen who would have been on older tyres. To me this just proves Verstappen has mentally got inside their heads, by fair means or foul. Merc have never been on point with strategy anyway, we’ve seen a lot over the years where the minute any real pressure is applied they become hesitant and reactive rather than proactive. Lewis seems to have the right idea but all too often they do the opposite and this time it cost them dear. Last Sunday was no more than that; bad luck for Lewis that there was a SC so close to the end and a strategy blunder from Merc. Red Bull gambled and won. Any talk of Masi ‘breaking’ rules (which didn’t happen) is cover for Mercedes to not have to accept their own failings.

        1. Tony, Masi clearly changed the interpretation of 48.12 to suit a last lap green flag race. And Lewis was pinned in regardless, as had he pitted Max would have stayed out and who knows whether the race would have finished under green or not.

          Point being, Lewis didn’t have a choice.

          As for 2009 & 2011, I don’t remember either of those years being about Lewis in any way – Seb dominated 2011 and Jenson 2009, so it’s not as those Lewis had a realistic shot at those championships in any way.

          Not that I’m Max’s biggest fan but there’s no question that Masi ignored 48.12, and the FIA saying that 48.13 overrides 48.12 is interesting since I’ve not seen anything that confirms that in the rulebook or posted by anyone elsewhere. Masi could have done anything else and it would have been a fairer contest respecting of the rules, but there’s no way I can accept Max as champion when the rulebook wasn’t followed and has given him an unfair advantage.

    2. He is not the champion, yet… as it stands at the moment, thats verstappen because he won more points over the entire season.

      The weird call massi made did resemble soccer a bit . Giving an advantage to lewis in lap 1 corner 6 and then verstappen am advantage at the end

      1. @cdfemke
        “The weird call massi made did resemble soccer a bit . Giving an advantage to lewis in lap 1 corner 6 and then verstappen am advantage at the end”

        you have no idea about soccer/football… lap 1 was more akin to midfield minor faul that both side had a hand in it, one trying to block another in a dangerous manner and other stopping it, it can be looked either way… but the later is akin to a penalty in the last min in a way goalkeeper is only allowed to start from the edge when striker shoots the goal! and if it bounces noone can rush in to help goalkeeper!

        1. I do actually bit you wouldnt know. And you proved that :) thanks

      2. Well. If it were soccer Masi would have called a penalty shoot-out after a team was leading 6-0 at 90minutes and only given one kick to each side except the team that was up 6 isn’t allowed to use a goal keeper.

    3. If I remember correctly Hamilton was at the lead going into the final race lap, so Verstappen wasn’t given anything.
      (And before you come up with further silly accusations – both Red Bull and Mercedes chose their own tyre strategies on their own)

      1. Mercedes should have brought LH in for new tires like RB. If they did it was an other story. LH did want that I believe he Saïd. But the team did not want to lose track position. Strategic error because you never know what happens. Whatever you may think fair or unfair Masi was entiteled to do that.

  4. Nicely said.
    We have been treated to an excellent season of superb driving and the FIA can only blame themselves for any negative blow-back they are receiving in my opinion.

    Looking forwards to next season with new cars and old rivalries.

    Come on Lewis – you know you want it and we know you can do it ;)

    1. Well said, Max fully deserved this title but there needs to be changes with how the FIA handle things in future. As for next year, I’m no Hamilton fan, but I would quite like to see him make a comeback take his 8th title and bow out the sport on top.

  5. The key issue at stake was whether Masi’s 2020 decision to continue a Safety Car period until all cars had un-lapped themselves because the rules require it (in his words) was consistent with his 2021 decision to hurriedly end a Safety Car period while only allowing a portion of the backmarkers to rejoin the lead lap. Clearly, it was not.

    Which completely misses the other key part of the regulation that the safety car comes in on the following lap.

    1. It doesn’t really matter for this article but so many articles have just picked little bits of this and that instead of always writing out all of the regulations that are supposed to be performed sequentially.

  6. There are strict rules concerning racing between white lines. Every race the race director overrules these through his race director’s notes.

    There are strict rules concerning how cars must be built. Every so often technical directives are issued, which override these rules.

    In all these cases the original rules are still in place, but they are overriden by some action of the FIA. This is necessary, fully legal and widely accepted.

    Nothing else than this happened in Abu Dhabi. The issue is blown out of proportion, because it was the last race. Every race counts equally for the championship, a decision in the first race is just as important as one in the last race.

    The conclusion that Formula One “blew it spectacularly” is wrong. It is also wrong that “many of those first-time viewers will have concluded this is not a sport but motoring’s WWE facsimile”. First-time viewers do not have any interest in the minutiae of safety car rules, I would wager that even the vast majority of long-time viewers don’t. Viewers got a spectacular race decided on the last lap.

    Actually Formula One got increased exposure due to how the season finished. That is a good thing. If Formula One does a survey among casual fans at the beginning of next season, I am sure that if they remember anything about this affair, then it will be that Mercedes was a sore loser. If they even know that Mercedes protested. The majority probably won’t: they watch the race, get a winner and world champion and then move on.

    1. When there is not a repeat of how the safety car was used in Abu Dhabi will the new viewers wonder why?

      Will they get confused or bored when they are told how it actually is?

      Will there be a realisation that Abu Dhabi was different and then have their own light bulb moment?

      1. Obviously some posters are better sourced with how the new/DTS fans see things than I am, but the ones I see across social media seem better informed than most give then credit for. Many of the new twitch/youtube channels they have set up have tens of thousands of views, and thousands of subscribers. One such YT channel having 120,000 subscribers. And whilst like most they have their favourites they seem quite fair and reasonable in their views and sufficiently knowledgeable to see the nonsense that the FIA/F1/DTS try to get away with.
        I think for F1 or anyone else to assume that those new to F1 are somehow lesser, don’t understand, or are willing to accept anything they are fed are in for a shock.

    2. If Formula One does a survey among casual fans at the beginning of next season, I am sure that if they remember anything about this affair, then it will be that Mercedes was a sore loser.

      This is a joke, right? I’d wager that the majority of casual fans can read and they’ve read the reason why Mercedes were unhappy and I doubt they too interpreted “any” the same way people like you have done over the past few days.

      1. Backatitlikeacrackaddict
        18th December 2021, 16:31

        Well I don’t know. I can fully understand that Mercedes and Hamilton are dissapointed but also to me it sticks how they handled it. Mercedes made a statement but after that Toto and Susie made sure to let everybody know that they are not really behind it. They look like 5 year olds that don’t get their way. Also by staying away from Paris they showed that they absolutely have no idea how to carry a loss. I really think this looks bad on them and people will remember.

    3. It wasn’t a Spectacular Race it was a relatively easy win for Hamilton until the Safety Car. It is evident that the rule regarding pit stops needs changing urgently, it is tantamount to giving a huge advantage to those cars that can use it to gain a massive unearned advantage . Max has driven spectacularly on occasion throughout his career and undoubtedly deserves to be a World Champion based on his outright speed. I believe it is time for Lewis to retire gracefully , he has proved that he could compete with Max this year but I think it’s time for Mercedes to find a young gun with a similar maximum attack mode of driving, one that is hunting his first Win and first Championship, one that has proven his superiority in outright speed over a driver that pushed the young Max. I am sure that Max would relish the challenge from his good mate in a Mercedes or maybe not.

  7. Full congratulations to Max and Red Bull, regardless of how they won it, they won it. So many what if’s and what about’s but at the end of the day more than happy to see somebody take the fight to Mercedes and ruin their perfect score card for the era.

  8. Verstappen is champion, and a deserved and worthy one. His title isn’t tainted.

    1. Indeed. And you must be exceedingly happy given all your moaning throughout the year about it being a sure deal Lewis title.

      1. Why Emma, do you need to start calling names or using expressions like “moaning” with other users? Your favorite driver didn’t win? I understand. But fans being so sour about a sport, about something that won’t rule our lives… I don’t get it.

        1. Got to admit I’ve seen a rather disarming amount of nastiness from Hamilton/Mercedes supporters both on here and on twitter. Like on twitter there’s Hamilton ‘fans’ literally sending abuse to Red Bull, Verstappen – even Albon.

          Like Hamilton himself would never congratulate you for saying those things or being like that to others, so why do it? Why be that nasty?

          1. Yes, it’s appalling, but there has been similar the other way throughout the year. To call out only Hamilton fans is a little unfair.

            Personally I’m disgusted with much of what has happened this year. There has been a particularly nasty element on each “side” who feel it’s perfectly acceptable to be abusive, to a level I don’t remember ever seeing before. I highly doubt either driver wants that sort of “supporter” on their side.

        2. Have you seen Adam’s posts throughout the year? Max plants it on pole – he’s here telling everyone that it was a mirage and Lewis would still win. Max wins – he’s here telling us that it doesn’t matter since Mercedes would still take the WDC anyway. Surely I’m allowed to comment on all that negativity that he dished out the whole year? It sure sounded like moaning to me.

    2. @rocketpanda soured but not tainted. Race direction almost nailed the last coffin on themselves, maybe they did, but at least they saved the championship they seemed to be wanting to gift to mercedes. I don’t think the outcry would have been this massive had Masi’s original call stood but at that point they had favoured mercedes so heavily that it would have been impossible to deny any call of favouritism or corruption.

  9. A very good read Keith. The stat you mentioned near the end is what has really amazed me. Outside of Baku, Silverstone, Hungary and Monza, Verstappen didn’t finish outside the top 2 all season. And if it wasn’t for Belgium being the farce it was, we could have had a situation where neither of the top 2 scored a 3rd place finish all season (had neither of them finished 3rd at Spa).

    My general view is that Max has been the quicker driver this season, but Lewis has been a more complete driver. And in that you’ve got back to the Senna vs. Prost style of one very quick but sometimes controversial driver against someone who is more calculated and cautious. They both had a mixture of good and bad luck across the first 21 races, and neither of them deserved to see a championship decided the way it was.

    For the record, I spent most of the season supporting Max, but was more neutral for the final few races because I didn’t agree with his driving at certain points, particularly Brazil and Saudi Arabia. I think I would have been happy no matter which way the title went, as long as it didn’t end in a crash. In the end it ended in an even worse manner. I have no problem with who is champion, I have a serious sense of annoyance and anger over how it was decided though (and that feeling is directed at the FIA not Max).

    I appreciate Merc for acknowledging Verstappen and RB as champions. I think they realise that Max can’t really be held accountable for the farce that was Abu Dhabi. I also feel very sorry for all the hundreds of people working for Mercedes and RB behind the scenes. They’re probably all lovely people, and they too don’t deserve a finale like what we’ve seen.

    And also, slightly off topic, but important nonetheless, I feel really sorry for Latifi. He seems to have been put through he’ll on social media for something he had no role in. Sure he caused the SC, but it’s what transpired after that point that is controversial, and he had no role in that.

    1. @RandomMallard

      one very quick but sometimes controversial driver against someone who is more calculated and cautious.

      I’d agree if Lewis hadn’t made some huge mistakes. We only saw that sharp, calculated and cautious Lewis at the end of the season.

  10. I wonder what the reactions would’ve been had the race ended behind the SC on a clean track with lapped cars slowly unlapping themselves and then still waiting another lap.

    I wonder what the reactions would’ve been If no lapped cars were allowed to unlap, but those drivers decided to let Max immediately past for him to challenge Hamilton during the last lap.

    I wonder what the reactions would’ve been If no cars could unlap and Verstappen and Hamilton took each other out in the last turn.

    I wonder what the reactions would’ve been had there been no Latifi incident.
    This I know, we would all be back discussing Sprint Qualifying in racing format.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Caption Competition.

    1. “I wonder what the reactions would’ve been If no cars could unlap and Verstappen and Hamilton took each other out in the last turn.”

      according to rolling restart rules max cant overtake lapped cars until he crosses the line to start the last lap. Lewis would win as he would be too far ahead for max to make a 1 lap challenge for the overtake.

      This is why the FIA invented new rules on the fly to make only the cars in front of max to unlap so he had a clean ‘traffic free’ run on Lewis.

      Max is a fake asterisk champion who won because race control fixed the race for him.

      1. Couldn’t agree with you more

      2. @ccpbioweapon

        I don’t normally reply to these “never ending arguments” I cannot agree you more on Abu Dhabi but I think FIA also helped Hamilton in Imola. How can you be in the wall and lap down and then after that standing on the podium.

  11. Well said Keith. The FIA has been shooting itself in both feet for years, the blame for this falls solely at their door. Typical that they tarnished the ending of arguably F1s greatest title fight. Let’s look forward to 2022, hopefully the new regs will provide great racing and the resumption of the epic Hamilton v Verstappen fight.

  12. When Masi inevitably gets pushed before the start of the new season, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to hear Christian Horner come out in support of Masi. If Masi does actually gets pushed, its an admission of wrongdoing on behalf of the FIA which further taints the validity of the trophy Max seems so unjustifiably proud to be holding.

  13. Funny how you should forget about Spa – another deliberate decision which unfairly favoured Verstappen. Otherwise I agree with your analysis @keithcollantine

    1. @nordmann Spa remains an interesting debate for me. Obviously the outcome (awarding half points for 3 SC laps) was completely wrong, but I don’t think any rules were technically broken. The rules make no specification that the laps had to be under green flag, so they reached the 2 or more laps after which half points have to be handed out. I suppose they stopped the race window clock for a bit, but they claimed that under Force Majure at which point Race Control can pretty much do as they please. It wasn’t the right procedure, but because of Force Majure it likely didn’t break any rules.

      I’m willing to believe that they were actually trying to get a race run in Spa. I can understand the argument that they only ran for 3 laps so they could call it an event and not have to refund, but for a couple of reasons I don’t buy it. Firstly, they had a better weather window that they had been monitoring, and sent the cars out to roughly coincide with that. All the feedback from the drivers is that they still couldn’t race, so that’s why they stopped it again. And secondly, I think running just those 3 laps to make it an event would almost be too obvious in a way. Like, I don’t think even the FIA would do something like that in such a specific way if they had those intentions. I would have thought if it was deliberate for legal reasons they would have let it run a bit longer behind the SC so it would seem more convincing. But again, it’s the FIA. Anything can happen with them involved.

    2. Hamilton fans should ask themselves: why did Lewis qualify behind Russell in Spa. A supposed qualifying goat and rainmaster should have put in on pole, not?

      It’s one of quite a few times that Lewis dropped a ball. Lewis had far from a flawless season.

      1. They only bring up Spa because Max got more points than Lewis. Had it be the inverse, they wouldn’t say anything about it….

      2. I love how people use qualifying results to justify Verstappen gaining points.

        You earn nothing from qualifying, its sole purpose is to decide the order for the Grand Prix, your points are given for your finishing position after the Grand Prix. There was no Grand Prix.

        1. @N

          In this case that wasn’t true.

          Fact is that the only reason why Max benefitted from the half points was that he qualified better. Had Lewis qualified better, he would have taken home more points. To me, that means that the points were earned on merit.

          You can say that Max got lucky that race control decided to award points, but conversely you can say that he got unlucky that the weather wasn’t a bit better and he could race for full points from a very advantageous position.

  14. When all is said and done, it’s not the way Max should have won his first championship, nor the way that Lewis should have lost out on his eighth.

    Neither driver (or team) is at fault for that, but the race officials need to take a long hard look at themselves and reflect.

    1. The only person we know of that wouldn’t want the title just handed to him is Hamilton because he has said on more than one occasion.

  15. They took what would of been maybe one of the greatest F1 seasons ever and turned it into the laughing stock of the sporting World.

    1. Your to harsh on Lewis.
      He indeed “let the door open” but not every driver would have dared an attempt there.
      He was beaten by pure class and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

      1. misplaced comment?

      2. and anyway I disagree, it was Deletraz- or Badoer-class driving. Even a useless tool like Valtteri would have done it better.

      3. The tyre advantage Max had meant whatever line Lewis took Max would end up first, look up fast in/slow out, slow in/fast out racing lines, what ever exit Max took from the corner he would of accelerated pass Lewis, he was a sitting duck because Masi decided to throw the rule book out the window, had it finished by the book the race would of finished behind the safety car and this is why Merc didn’t pit.
        But this hardly surprising as F1 has clearly signalled it is a ‘show’ and not a sport. I cant think of a more obvious manipulated ending to a so called ‘sporting’ event.

        1. That’s what you get with the louse Mercedes strategy

  16. Nice article, pretty much sums up my feelings as well. Hamilton was clearly the best driver in Abu Dhabi, while Verstappen was slightly better driver over the whole season. The championship was won in those 21 races, not in the last few minutes of the last race. But Masi still made a terrible decision and I hope nothing like that ever happens again.

  17. I agree in principle as Verstappen has driven well, if rather recklessly, all season. He is fast and has talent but perhaps a little too extravagant in his defences and passes.

    But by the same measure and core argument Hamilton should have been the “worthy champion”.

    The Masi mess has compromised and tainted this championship. There is no getting away from that fact. We do not know who would be champion if the rules had been followed. And we might say that not just about Abu Dhabi but the whole season.

    It is such a shame this taint exists, and even more a shame the FIA seem incapable of dealing with it with any urgency.

    1. Witan Agree with your analysis of Max’s driving. Incredibly quick, but sometimes a bit too opportunistic.

      In terms of who is therefore a “deserving” champion, in this case it’s completely dependent on what you want out of a champion. Do you want out and about raw speed, with incidents and misfortune removed, to decide the championship, or absolute consistency throughout the season? If we go for the former, then there’s a case for Max to be “deserving”, and on the latter I think Lewis would be the one who “deserves” the title.

      F1 followed the out and out speed argument for many years, with drop scores still being used until the late 80s or early 90s (they were famously still in place in 1988 I’m sure of that). More recently, since the early 90s (and in a decision that I’m sure Prost had absolutely nothing to do with…) the “all points from every race” argument has been the one adopted, at least in the points philosophy.

      Personally, I feel both of them “deserved” it. Both were very good throughout the season and both had given it their all. What neither of them deserved was a finale like this.

      1. The first season without dropped scores was 1991 I think, the same year that the number of points for a win increased from 9 to 10.

        1. @red-andy Many thanks. Thought it was some time around then, just couldn’t remember the exact year. I also seem to remember hearing that Prost was quite vocal about getting rid of drop scores, considering he lost the 1988 season because of them (scored more overall points but once scores were dropped Senna came out on top or something)

      2. Lewis and absolute consistency in 2021?
        Forgot about Monaco, master of the rain 2nd in Spa, Silverstone, …?
        I would say Max has been way more consistent this year than Hamilton.

  18. The only thing that takes away from Max Verstappen is Max Verstappen. He’s a fantastic driver, clearly the only driver in the field at the level of Hamilton which is why we had the season we had.

    However, anyone that doesn’t acknowledge the fact that Max is what we used to call a “dirty driver” is deluding themselves. His biggest shortcoming, the fact that he is mono-dimentional in his race craft is not helped by the fact that he drives for Red Bull, which IMO creates an blameless echo-chamber, which is the last thing the Max needs.

    That number 1 is going to look great on next year’s Red Bull!

    1. The number one will be quite symbolic as a reminder of how many WDC he’s been gifted…

      1. bolic as a reminder of how many WDC he’s been gifted…

        Damn, now I know why Lewis kept number 44.
        Hey started at his mclaren years and hoped / expected more

    2. +1
      The thing that bothers me the most is that Max has plenty of raw talent and speed to race properly and fairly and still win. All the other drivers think Max’s rececraft has been over the line and reckless. And because he won the WDC he will feel vindicated & justified in his actions. Thus he will never change. He will certainly be the cause of more big accidents. He will reap what he has sown because the FIA has no backbone or integrity to enforce their own rules. Also RBR, Marko & Horner create an environment where Max isnt shown the error of his ways. He races like a jerk and sometimes comes across as one. But he was also raised by one too. He will be the source of more controversy, its only a matter of time. Its a good thing he races in this safer modern time.

      1. No need to become rude and compare Max with ‘a jerk’. And leave his father out of it please, very unworthy talking like this.

        1. I don’t think Jim was rude. Fracturing someone’s skull, being handed a five year suspended prison sentence for assault, another assault charge, violating a restraining order, an attempted murder charge albeit later dropped, and I think its justifiable to label him a jerk. As for Max, clearly the apple hasn’t fallen very far from the tree. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.

      2. @Jim, by big incidents you mean big accidents like the 51 g impact accident caused by Lewis in the fastest corner of the season trying to eliminate his main rival to secure his 8th WC? Or do you mean the 30 miles/ hr BIG accident Max caused in Italy?

        1. What accident did Max cause in Italy?
          He was forced onto the sausage kerb by some incompetent, who almost took a serious comeuppance in rear tyre form

          1. It is rather amusing that some people have an issue with my comments but those same people never call out hyoko for his/her/their truly offensive utterances. Fair game methinks.

    3. The other thing that takes away from dirty Verstappen is his team director Horner who enables the reckless driving. As an older person he has less excuse.

  19. As I’ve said before, the Abu Dhabi race was deserving of an 8th WDC. It was a sublime display of skill from Lewis.

    If the FIA couldn’t fix it, they should’ve asked Lewis and Max if they wanted to share the WDC like the high jump competitors at the Olympics. That would have helped settle some of the dust from the disastrous end to the race of the sport.

    It’s really impossible to beat Lewis in terms of ability. Fernando, one of the best to race, failed against Lewis in 2007. In 2011, Button outscored Lewis but a collision between the two in Montreal accounted for most of the point difference and Lewis had a half season. In 2016, Rosberg managed it but he smashed into Lewis in Spain and needed multiple miracles similar to Verstappen’s. In 2021, Lewis delivered some of his best races and lost only courtesy of the FIA against a driver who had the quickest car and deserved disqualifications.

    Bottomline – you can outscore Lewis but you’ll look like a second rate driver as you do it. Lewis exposed all of Verstappen’s weaknesses as he did with all the other champions. He is the champion of champions!

    I think Lewis is not in contention for the GOAT of F1, but for the big one – the GOAT of all sports. In terms of sportsmanship, he has it in his pocket. In terms of ability, he’s definitely on the podium.

    1. @freelittlebirds In many ways this is the perfect comment. It starts out silly and gets progressively dafter until the ending, which is downright ridiculous. Hopefully you get a commendation from Vladimir for that one.

      1. Yeah it’s fairly spectacular – the last paragraph in particular. So many sportsmen dominated like Lewis has but they didn’t do it with equipment that gave them a huge advantage compared to their competitors.

    2. Michael I wish I could have put it so eloquently! Just spot on

    3. Did not knew “desilusional” Could take such proportions.
      It must be hard being you.

      1. erikje, you are a hypocrite.

        1. Thank you I guess. It takes one to know one :)

          1. erikje, there’s been nothing from you but taunting “hamfans” (as you call them) since you arrived on this site. You admitted weeks ago that you are only here to be a disruptive influence. You are definitely part of the problem. If you had to courage to make a real profile here, people would be able to see all of your comments and would know just what you are all about. Your calling out of toxic fans is pure hypocrisy.

      2. Erikje, your comment would carry a lot more weight if you used the right word and it came from a different person.

    4. Oh dear.
      Can’t decide if this is satire or genuine.
      Can’t really tell with these GOAT stories.

    5. @freelittlebirds This isn’t meant to be an aggressive attack on you, or Lewis, or Merc, so please don’t take it as such, but I’m of the strong opinion that it is impossible to determine a GOAT in F1. Firstly because I think it’s grossly unfair, why do we have to constantly be comparing people (outside of the points scored in a championship obviously), but also because there is so much different across separate eras of the sport that, in my opinion, it’s very difficult to say “this driver from this season is better than this driver from 30 years ago). I don’t think you could compare Fangio to Schumacher, for example. The cars and the championship were just so different. However, I do think it is easier to choose a Greatest Of The Decade (GOTD). For example, this would be my personal list:

      1950s: Fangio
      1960s: Jim Clark
      1970s: could be one of a selection, but probably Lauda or Fittipaldi
      1980s: similarly, could be one of a section, including Piquet, Prost and Senna
      1990s: also very difficult to choose, but probably Prost or Senna
      2000s: Difficult to look past Schumacher. He had his controversial moments but was still up there permanently.
      2010s: Hamilton by a country mile. Won 5 titles in the decade (and another in 2020 which is also of a similar era). Only other possible name is Vettel, but considering Hamilton beat him in 2017 and 2018 I think it’s got to be Lewis.
      2020s: ? No idea. We’ll have to wait and see. There’s a hot of potential names though: Russell, Norris, Verstappen (if he can sort out his driving standards, and I know he likes the environment there but I do think leaving RB could be good for him), Leclerc. If those 4 can all get a competitive car I think we could have a great few seasons coming up.

      Similarly, I think it’s difficult to say there’s an overall GOAT for sporting ability, simply because sports can be so different and varied. It can be like trying to compare a pop artist to and indie folk artist; there aren’t that many transferable skills.

      However, I’m with you on the sportsmanship. Lewis is a great sportsman, and I agree he’s definitely up there, even if it might be difficult to pick an overall greatest. I’ve been very impressed with how he handled the fall out from Abu Dhabi, and I’ve gained even more respect for him as a result. I do hope he stays for another season, the sport would be worse off without him.

      Finally, I hope you have a great Christmas, and hope F1 can start afresh next season after challenging end to this season for everybody.

      1. @RandomMallard Yep never been a believer in the GOAT title, to many variables. Both Senna and Schumacher as good as they were had some issues with entitlement. As for Versappen, that race in Saudi was a shocker.

      2. @randommallard I respect the opinion and the concept of dividing it into decades. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to you and everyone else here! There is so much passion for the sport on this site.

    6. @freelittlebirds COTD. Eloquently put and very well written.

    7. Why the sports achievements only? All Nobel prizes present, past anf future, also rightly belong to Sir

    8. It was a sublime display of skill from Lewis.

      Sure, the consummate defensive skill showed at T5, the way Sir closed the door… just as good as we have come to expect from such a driver.

  20. Haha. Good laugh.

    “It’s really impossible to beat Lewis in terms of ability.”
    Merc was the better car measured over full season. Lewis dropped quite a few balls.
    As his bigger mistakes are well covered (imola, baku magic button, not winning in Hungary), let’s focus on some smaller ones:
    Outqualified by Russel in Spa?
    7th in Monaco while his teammate qualified 0.1s from pole. If Bottas and Lec would have finished that race Lewis would have been 9th that race (on merit)?

    1. Oh please, don’t remind them of those “unconvenient” facts. They have always been such sore losers.

    2. Bahrain, Imola (bad qualy), Silverstone, Monza Brazil, Saudi (many times. All errors from Max … just off the top of my head. They BOTH made errors. Max slightly less than Lewis but either Driver wouldbe fully deserving of WDC 2021.
      You want to keep sniping, crack on. Just exposes your ignorance

    3. Merc was not the better car over the whole season.
      Close maybe, but just ask Adrian Newey for his opinion.
      I still don’t understand when the FIA found out about Red Bull bendy rear wing and we all saw the video’s of it clearly flexing. The were allowed to keep it for three races. Merc wing 0.2 mill out due to damage goes to the back of grid. Go figure.

      1. That’s the difference between an illegal proven Mercedes Wing and a wing that passed all tests fia used on it (reddbulls to help you there)

        1. If it wasn’t illegal why did Red Bull have to change it.?

    4. @trib4audi I didn’t say Lewis is perfect or everyone of his races is flawless. He makes mistakes, granted fewer than anyone else but he also makes up more than anyone else could.

  21. Whilst I am happy to say that Max is a deserving champion (As Ham would have been if they had stuck to the rules) I really don’t need to be lectured on that by those posters who have spent nearly a decade telling us that none of Hams have been deserving, and can’t go more than a dozen Ham posts without throwing ‘what about GLOCK!’ into the mix.
    Although on the plus side, we can now spent the next decade and a half throwing MASI! into any discussion on the merits of Max’s record with a distinct air of superiority and smugness.

    1. Either Lewis or Max wouldve been deserved Champion. As it turned out, it was Max. Well done to him

      1. If I had entered a competition I would not have entered it due to believing I deserved to win it but I would have entered knowing that I have the same opportunity to win as all who entered.

        Deserved seems the word used for school children years ago that just being in the competition made you a winner and should get a prize.

        1. I think you may be misunderstanding my sentiment? Lewis should have won. 100%. I am disgusted with how things went down on Sunday and I feel Lewis’ pain/anger nearly as much as he does. What im saying is:
          Max didnt cause this situation, so has no blame in it.

  22. 100% agree with the headline of this article. It’s a shame for Max that there is a cloud hanging over this WDC. As much as I dislike his driving ANYONE that wins a WDC is deseriving of it. As a fan of lewis I urge all Lewis and F1 fans to give Max his props.

  23. The 2022 season will start with Lewis being asked when is he going to retire and was he robbed. Max will be asked if he thought he really won the championship.

    It may go on all year.

    1. I am not sure which driver will be more effected by this sad end to the year. Hamilton will feel robbed, frustrated and angry but Verstappen might increasingly feel that his championship is tainted as the constant reference to the controversy continues on and on.

      People have sneered at Hamilton’s faithful Angela Cullen but she will help him recover more quickly than Verstappen will surrounded as he is by the three vicious Harpies, Horner, Marko and Jos.

      The emotions either might feel can be extreme damaging and lead to behaviour and emotional changes. Have no doubt, in the pressure cooker of high rolling F1, they are all the more painful and powerful than most of us, fortunately, are likely to feel in our lives.

      In short Verstappen needs help like Hamilton’s not a bunch of cheerleaders.

    2. It will forever be known as ‘controversial winner of the 2021 WDC’

      1. More the controversial whiner of 2021 season :)

        I corrected it for you.

        1. Good one. Max hasnt had an interview yet where he hasn’t said, ‘and you do know I had cramp in my leg don’t you?’ Although I think you maybe being a bit to harsh on Max.

          1. Nice try. But you really need some inspiration to get close. If it’s not by intelligence,or knowledge you can always try something new to surprise us. M
            :)

        2. Yeah, Horner was very trying this year…

  24. I remember in 2010 Alonso was hit by farcical decisions by the FIA and the stewards which compromised his championship campaign far more worse than Hamilton this year. Charlie Whiting’s (RIP) handling of the Silverstone situation in which Alonso cut a corner and overtook Kubica off the track after being pushed off the track was very bad for someone with his class and experience. Ferrari waited for his call to give the position back which took too long and then put them under investigation straightaway after Kubica’s retirement and Alonso got a drive through penalty.

    The SC situation in Valencia where Alonso was 3rd and challenging Hamilton who was struggling with his tyres for 2nd place was controversial to say the least. Hamilton who overtook the SC and the drivers that were behind Alonso that exceeded the safety car-in lap time were given lenient penalties that didn’t match the advantage gained. Alonso went too far and claimed the race was fixed, Ferrari too.

    In the 2010 season the tension between Ferrari and the FIA was very high. From Ferrari point of view, all the decisions that were made seemed to be against them and Todt supported all the FIA members in doing their job so he will not be seen as the Ferrari man inside the organization. Ferrari tried to protest RBR flexi wings who were deemed to be legal before the FIA began gradually to toughen the tests until they were caught in 2014…

    Keith has written an article 11 years ago about how the FIA must learn from what happened in Valencia. The thing is that as a result of 2010 European GP the SC deployment procedure was improved so it will affect the entire field in the same way. Also the delay in penalties during the races.

    Credit in this also goes to Ferrari who thanks to Domenicali managed to ease the tension with the FIA and move on from those incidents. I remember Alonso later in the season said that he will accept the steward’s decisions and move on. He also said that he and Lewis texted each other over the incident in Valencia and cleared it up.

    The difference in what happened in 2010 and this year is that all the parties wanted to move on for the good of the sport. While Charlie Whiting was far more respected by the teams even when they disagree with him, you can’t expect every race director to be a pillar of the sport like he was. Domenicali was also in a different galaxy to someone like Wolff when it comes to values and principles.

    It’s clear that Wolff is adding fuel to the fire and toxicity to the already toxic environment by seeking a personal vendetta against Masi which will do nothing for the sport. He couldn’t care less, the sport for him means that his team must win at all costs.

    1. Well said. Yeah, I remember how often we disagreed about those races hehehe!
      But it’s absolutely true, McLaren almost got a driver’s championship with a clearly illegal car in 2007. Kimi helped F1 save face 14 years ago, by winning it in the legal car.

    2. @tifoso1989 forgot the tag in my reply

      1. @omarr-pepper

        Yeah, I remember how often we disagreed about those races hehehe!

        I still remember too. Countless discussions and a lot of fun :)

    3. Glad that someone remembers. After his death everyone seems to have the rosy tinted glasses on for Whiting and miss him but he used to conduct the races as someone in McL’s pockets and a Fezza loather. I dislike Masi but never missed Whiting a bit.

  25. For all those ones who seem to love the word “tainted” these days, is Senna taking Prost deliberately in Suzuka 1990 making that world championship “tainted”? I know all the Balestre saga, but I also know F1 was more dangerous that nowadays. Senna could have actually killed Prost, himself, or both, in that maneuver. Yet I don’t here anyone saying “The tainted 1990 championship”.
    F1 is full of controversies, and this year the stewarding and race control have made a mess, but make sure there have been plenty of wrong calls all the time. Remember the “it’s a joke” comment by Alonso? Remember why he said so? Remember the farce that was giving a 5-second penalty to Vettel in Canada, letting Hamilton win? And now in hindsight we know Ferrari and Vettel dropped the ball after that summer brake, but what if Hamilton had won that championship just by 1 point? Wouldn’t have it been a “tainted championship” just because the controversial race control call was NOT in the last race?
    I really hope nobody keeps feeling so sour forever, against Max, or playing the victim card again, such as in 2016, when I heard the strangest conspiracy theories of “a German team wanting a German champion” and stuff that back then was fueled by Hamilton’s comments as well.
    He showed to be more gracious in defeat just after the Abu Dhabi race. I really hope he stays gracious and won’t start reminding us this last race during all the 2022 season. But I’m sure many so-called F1 / Hamilton “fans” (while behaving like hooligans) will make sure to keep claiming how “tainted” and “fake” Max’s championship is.

    1. 1990 would have been tainted if Prost had won after they moved the pole grid slot after Quali….

      1. Pole was always on the dirty side of the grid in Suzuka. It had been the year before as well.

        1. But it was moved over in 90 because of the disadvantage of starting on the dirty side, then Senna got pole and they decided to move it back. F1 has always been dodgy and corrupt but like everyone else I just ignored it, now after what happened on Sunday I can no longer turn a blind eye to it, its like the curtain has dropped and I can see all the workings of what is happening on ‘the stage’ and now I find it laughable that I ever considered it a Sport.

          1. This video is from qualifying at Suzuka 1990. It clearly shows pole position on the left hand side of the track.

            As Aidan Millward explains in his video about this, the story goes that Bergher and Senna visit the officials (not Balestre) after Qualifying to request to change pole to the clean side of the grid. Then either the FIA refuse immediately, or they initially say yes, before Balestre refuses later that evening and passes an injunction against it. Don’t get me wrong, I have incredible respect for Senna and believe he is one of the most naturally gifted racing drivers of all time, up there with Jim Clark, Fangio etc. But there was nothing wrong about pole in 1990

    2. Can we stop these rubbish comments about 1990. Suzuka comparing it with Verstappen’s FIA encouraged dirty driving. Ayrton held his line and he did stuck front of his car alongside Alain’s but it was far less malicious compared to usual MV’s driving. What Alain Prost did a year before was intentional crash into the main rival. That was dirty indeed and almost everyone here mentions almost exclusively the next year incident. To compare Ayrton’s driving to Max’s is equal to sacrilege for me and I hope for all of us remembering Ayrton and how he drove.

    3. Says the Vettel fan that jumped ship to VER the minute Vettel couldn’t compete at the front. Forgive me if I take your opinions with a pinch of salt

      1. Lol. Someone suggested a Ham, Max or neutral poll. And my first thought was what about those who support whoever is the closest to challenging Ham? Certainly more of them than actual Max fans; as we will see next year if George is the closest challenger.

      2. Oh I didn’t know I need your permission to support more than one driver. And I still cheer for Vettel.

  26. I hate to say this as I am a big fan of Verstappen as well as Hamilton, I felt Verstappen was a deserving champion who earned the title in the final race in such an undeserving way.

    Whoever won the title if there was a court case would’ve felt like a tainted champion and I think all the blame on that is on Michael Masi, So instead of celebrating the driver who won the championship we are now arguing about how the championship was won and The honourable thing should be Masi resigning.

  27. A balanced and fair article, it was a hard battle this year, occasionally straying over the lines of acceptable behaviour on track and off (if you include the team principles) but the extent to which Lewis and Max and their teams pushed each other to ever higher levels has been fantastic.

    The thing I wish and that I think would actually help to put a line under this now that Mercedes have withdrawn their appeal, would be for the FIA and Liberty to dial down the arrogance of their response and for Todt and Brawn to step forward and acknowledge that in their desire to deliver a fair and exciting finale to the season and due to their lack of foresight (safety cars in the closing laps of a GP are hardly rare), a big mistake was made in the heat of the moment. And it is this mistake, not the “misunderstanding” it generated or Mercedes understandable anger that has tainted the result for the fans, for Lewis, for Mercedes and sadly for Max as well.

    Having said all this roll on 2022!

  28. Even the team bosses (except for Binotto who doesn’t take part) voted Max as best driver in F1 this year. 188 points Vs 174 for Lewis.

    Maybe that will shut up the people writing b s about Max? Of course not

    1. No more so than it has shut you up disparaging Hamilton in just about every one of your posts. As you would have done if this poll wasn’t to your liking.

      1. Obviously haven’t read with any focus.. you can keep the disparaging for yourself.

    2. Lewis is going to be so upset by that.

      How will he overcome such a setback?

      It will be career ending. Wolff must be anxious looking for a replacement as I type this.

      1. It was just an indication that those who actually know something about the sport DO recognise his talent and performance as opposed most of the people writing online.

        1. So you have no clue how Lewis will be able to come back from the disappointment?

          Well that’s good because I don’t directly recognise the talents explicitly or indirectly so that must count me out.

    3. Lewis was voted best driver of 2008 yet that didn’t shut people up talking about Glock. And that was simply about Glock being on the wrong tyres in the rain versus Race Control making up rules in Max’s favour

      1. By who? everybody has their opinions and biases and mostly I don’t care for them. Check f1metrics (the top math model) for a truly unbiased ranking of the pilots, levelling the field for car/team differences
        f1metrics for 2008: Fernando 1st, Lewis 4th

        1. Team bosses

          1. Thanks for the answer, it is what I suspected, anyway. But the question was mostly rhetoric.

        2. There Drivers not Pilots

          ‘As nouns the difference between pilot and driver is that pilot is a person who steers a ship or plane, while driver is one who drives something, in any sense of the verb to drive’

    4. Oh please. That vote varies from year to year with it’s inherent biases and perceptions.

  29. Best article I have read on the controversy so far. A lot of the pundits and experts seem to fudge the issue when asked of there opinion. A lot seem to know Masi and say he is a very nice bloke, they don’t want to throw him under the bus.
    I understand this but we don’t need a nice bloke as Race Director, can’t imagine Wolf and Horner talking to Charlie Whiting in the way the did to Masi this season.
    Max by the is a deserving champion no question.

  30. The problems at the end of the race started and finished with the Race Director attempting to satisfy those clamouring for races not to finish behind the Safety Car i.e. condense any SC period that occurs towards the end of a race if it would otherwise interfere with at least one final lap of racing. But that, of course, could immediately conflict with what must be the ultimate objective of any motor race – safety trumps racing. If the RD deems a safety car is necessary then, by definition, racing is suspended and whatever happens during the SC period is all, and solely, for the purpose of minimising the risk to those attending to the incident and/or the drivers and/or the spectators. Inherent in any such decision is that the SC is utilised for a period that is neither shorter nor longer than is necessary. Therefore, any attempt to artificially interfere with the natural course of the SC period before racing resumes again (after the cars cross the SC line on the last lap of the SC period) is based on the premise that racing trumps safety which is presumably not an outcome that anyone would contemplate.

    It might therefore help, therefore, if the FIA made it crystal clear that the rules governing the safety car are sacrosanct and the role of the RD is simply to decide if an incident warrants a SC and, if so, when is it safe to end it.

    1. In terms of safety, that part was taken care of.

      What has to happen is if the race director is allowed to shorten the SC period then it needs to be clear in the regulations.

      The people officiating have been duped by not understanding their own words by allowing for a clever dick answer to get them out of a hole.

      1. Safety was not taken care of. If you saw the on-boards of the mix of lapped and lapped cars leading up to the restart the field was actually in a more more dangerous state because of the confusion.

        Just before the restart you can see marshals jumping over the barrier mere moments before lap 58.

        The farcical decision was done to create a new world champion.

  31. Nice one. May I add that for such a significant mistake, someone’s got to pay the bill though. “Rules are rules” after all…or aren’t they anymore?

    1. Not in regard to Lewis. He can break rules without consequences.

      1. Line them up? Which ones?

        1. Please! Please can people STOP biting on eriks fishing line!! He would’ve disappeared long ago if he didn’t keep getting people to bite to his outlandish comments. He is here for one reason and one reason only… to wind you up!! Like a small child, he will go away if you ignore him! It’s UNBELIEVABLE that so many reasoned, intelligent commenters on this site continually respond to his unmitigated, misguided, partisan stance on every aspect of F1. This just legitimizes his presence!! Why??

          1. It would be great if there was some sort of mute or block function. It’d make following the discussions in the comments a much more pleasant experience.

          2. You do know these reactions precisely that: reactions. So if you are afraid of being exposed for what you are. Do not start. That simple.
            I exposed a lot of derailed toxic ” fans” lately.

        2. You need not go further than last race, the cranemaster gained a lost position outside de track at T6 and was not forced to give it back. Classic.

        3. Most recent example rule 6.

  32. Remember when Ferrari had the engine fiasco and FIA(?) said they will do a detailed investigation? and then they did and said we have reached our conclusion and we are closing the investigation and didn’t really tell what their findings were and what happened?

    I’m expecting the same thing to happen with this detailed investigation of this fiasco as well.

    1. @hatebreeder I have a feeling Merc will (quite rightly) not let then get away with that.

      1. Do Merc have that power? I doubt it

        1. No, but I think they can make enough of a publicity storm to force the FIA to release the findings. Considering the FIA have already pledged to involve the teams I assume the findings will be shared with them.

          If all else fails, Merc could probably take them to court to force them to make the findings public; this isn’t too unusual in the legal world.

    2. @hatebreeder
      They didn’t close the investigation which was an option available to the FIA. They did have three options at the conclusion of the investigation which are : proceeding by taking the case to the International Tribunal, closing the investigation or enter into a settlement agreement to terminate the procedure.

      Legally speaking, the FIA even with teams like RBR and Mercedes pointing them into the right direction and having seized Ferrari PU for the entire winter still couldn’t prove what Ferrari were up to albeit knowing the end result (major fuel flow).

      The settlement meant that Ferrari will tell the FIA what they were doing in order to prevent anyone else from doing it in exchange for immunity which can be revoked at any time in the future as per the rules if the FIA will find that Ferrari were not telling the truth. There was also the issue of a third party IP (Shell) which cannot be made public by the FIA. Besides, Ferrari were targeted by technical directives in order to comply with the rules which led to their worse ever season in 40 years.

      That aside, you have also to remember how the investigation over the “secret” tyre test in Barcelona conducted by both Pirelli and Mercedes which prompted RBR and Ferrari to protest it in the 2013 Monaco GP. Mercedes were able thanks to that test to resolve their tyre overheating issues that characterized all their previous cars.

      1. @tifoso1989
        Thanks for the explanation. I didn’t get the point you were making though.

        1. @hatebreeder
          You’re more than welcome ! The point is that the FIA even with no proof managed to punish Ferrari severely. The settlement also specifies that Ferrari will help the FIA in other activities related to PU monitoring, sustainability, R&D, women programs in motorsport…

          All the teams bar the Ferrari customers were outraged and threatened to take legal action but they didn’t. If they have taken the case to the court, they may have discovered that the legal system works in a different way. Under the circumstances the FIA did the best they could with regard to the Ferrari PU investigation.

          That aside, this is not the first time that the FIA closes an investigation in a strange manner. The “secret” Mercedes tyre test was handled in a strange way. Just like the last lap incident in Abu Dhabi which has benefited Verstappen over Hamilton, Hamilton has benefited all the year from the inconsistency and sometimes the incompetence of the FIA.

          The problem is that Wolff and Mercedes are trying to create a narrative that implies that they were targeted on purpose by the governing body which is absolutely nonsense. If anything I would say that they were the team that benefited most from the inconsistency and the incompetence of the FIA, hybrid rules, token system, 2019 front wing rule change, Pirelli mid season change to stiffer tyres…

          1. @tifoso1989
            Thanks for that clarification!
            I looked up and didn’t find any evidence of FIA punishing ferrrari severely for the engine illegality other than one claim Mika Salo made which I saw a lot of clickbait websites picked up. I didn’t see any of the main sites picking that up.
            For Mercedes, they were punished and you can find that online too. From your narrative, it seemed like you dislike Mercedes and feel Mercedes gained some unfair advantage all these years and Wolff and Mercedes are bad guys. Anyway if I were to make assumptions, I’d say that you are probably a Ferrari fan, going with your username. Which also explains why you decided to reply on my comment, cause I mentioned Ferrari. With the I hate mercedes and they are the bad guys glasses on, I don’t think this conversation can lead to anything constructive. You’ve been around on this site for a really long time and I dont intend to pick up an argument with you.
            My comment wasn’t supporting Mercedes or Wolff in any way and I dont intend to choose sides here and get into an unnecessarily argument with you. It was about how a race director breached safety rules for entertainment and how I believe the FIA will probably let this run its course and sweep the issue under the rug.

          2. @hatebreeder
            There is no tangible proof that the FIA have severely punished Ferrari. That is correct due to the secrecy of the settlement agreement. Though they have issued technical directives that have castrated their entire PU and pushed them to comply in a really short time. Ferrari had to redesign the whole 2020 PU in a short period of time just to comply. Michael Schmidt of Auto Motor Und Sport have already written an article about this, I have to dig deep to find it though.

            By doing so the FIA have already scrapped Ferrari 2020 car development plans because the entire car was designed with the 2019 PU numbers in mind. As per Binotto statement in 2020, he said that the development lifecycle of a new PU is 2 years and he expects Ferrari to be back to their 2019 power levels only in 2022.

            Mercedes were punished in 2013 though the punishment didn’t match the advantage they gained which is the exact same thing that they are complaining about Max and RBR being leniently treated by the FIA. They did have a serious rear tyres overheating issues that characterized all their cars in the period between 2010-2013 and they only got on top of it probably thanks to that test.

            I’m indeed a Ferrari fan but that doesn’t refrain me to criticize them like no other on this same forum whenever they are wrong. As for Mercedes, my problem with them and especially Wolff is that they pretend to be gentlemen and they are usually lecturing people about values and principles whereas in reality they are probably the most politicized team on the grid and they show their true colours at the slightest pressure from the competition. If you just try to analyse any statement made by Wolff, most of the times you’ll find him contradicting himself in the same statement.

            Your argument about the FIA and the race direction incompetence is absolutely valid and I have been myself very critical about them. I apologize if you feel that I have attacked you personally by picking an argument with you. Far from it, I intended to say that the regulators are the same for everybody even if they are rubbish. Thanks for your comment and feel free to comment !

  33. A “winner” who needs a fraud to win is not deserving.
    Paper champ forever.

    1. A whiner who needs a barrister to secure his place is a loser for ever and at least for this season :)

    2. He will have to back it up next year. The cars should be more agile, bit more like GP2 so he shouldn’t get away with his go-kart style dive-bombs.

  34. Did Masi not consider the consequences to his family when he made this monumental blunder?

    1. @macradar As he’s Australian, Masi is probably enjoying two weeks of accidental legal safeguarding in an Aussie quarantine hotel (I those rules are still in forced). Probably makes the job of anyone coming after him harder as well if they also have to spend two weeks in isolation. Unless they’re also Australian

    2. More likely given the history of violence and abuse that one side seems proud of he may have very much considered his actions which led him to ignore the rules in the first place?

    3. I guees reading the garbage Lewis fans produce in this forum it would be very possible they are able to do serious harm to persons involved and not involved.
      Every nuance seems lost.
      But the suggestion an sich shows something about you.

    4. I hope you see how sad this comment is. Should you take the safety of your family in consideration when making calls under pressure a an official during a race?

  35. Went into the final race looking at two deserving champions. Didn’t matter which one won as long as neither of them took the other one out to do it, so I thought I couldn’t lose and would be happy at the end regardless…

    Ouch. Still entirely happy with Verstappen as champion but I’ll always be disgusted by what happened and it’s such a huge shame a deserving champion won it in that way.

  36. Max would not have won without Masi’ manipulating the rules in Max’s favour, Therefore, the title is tainted

  37. A champion is a function of a championship.
    A championship is a function of a season.
    In this case, the season went to the final race, so the championship was a function of the championship finale.
    Ergo, a tainted, cooked, fixed finale resulted in an undeserving “champion” whose “title” will forever be subject to footnotes.
    QED.

    1. Should we refer as Verstappen 2021 WDC* or Verstappen tainted WDC*?

  38. This article tries to sound very open minded and unbiased, but it’s actually a horrible piece of journalism.

    A joirnalist using the term deserving champion (introduced by Hamilton in quotation marks when talking about Nico Rosberg in 2016) to validate the title of the new champion is a classic display of ignorance and arrogance.

    Go ahead, ban me if you like.
    Your boos mean nothing, I’ve seen what makes you cheer.

    1. Why would we boo you?
      You are simply speaking your mind and expressing your feelings yes?

  39. How can this year’s championship not be tainted? How can one separate between how the final minutes of the race, which would ultimately determine the championship, was run? How can one “park” the worthiness of the championship and its eventual champion when analysing the reasons for those decisions? How can one look at the arrogant champion and be forced to forget that he has been playing dirty, and will continue to do, because this championship has put a seal of approval to his method of driving? That his team has sent out Checco to slow down Lewis, and one wouldn’t put it pass them, to crash into Lewis? The championship and the champion are tainted. They themselves know it. Hence all the attempt to put out a story that Max suffered from cramp etc. etc. And no amount of cleaning up would do. Max looked like a waiter in a pretentious upmarket restaurant no matter how much smartening up he tried.

    1. Absolutely spot on Mia!

  40. No matter how you say it, no matter how you try and spin it; Hamilton got robbed. And that, that has nothing to do with Verstappen. Just call it for what it is and move on.

    1. Absolutely, if Mercedes would have listened to his call for tires it would have been another fight!

      1. no, cause Masi would have ended the race behind SC then.

  41. Exactly.. in sports such things happens because decision are by human. I appreciate both fan clubs supporting thier drivers..
    But this doesn’t mean Max should give championship to Ham.
    Many time someone benefits by decision.. but no one give it back and ask to give it back.. thats normal.
    Simple example, someone impending in quali and ruining anyones hotlap , this mistake doesn’t mean both drivers should swap their places..
    Inshort.. accept the results.. move on..
    Another example, after bottas bowling in hungary… he has not given any position in next race to impacted driver in favor of justice… so they moved on to next race… same we we all should

    1. The last race was manipulated by the race director going against rules and going against what he publicly said previously, and in the last 2 laps!! It is truly terrible.. Please understand why people are upset at this disgusting manipulated championship result. I wonder if Verstappen has any humanity in him to realise he got lucky by a dodgy call or simply doesn’t care. I suspect the latter by his recent driving

  42. It’s going to be a very long off-season. There would always be something to rehash endlessly, but this is going to be brutal. Now we have people implying that Lewis will not return, and that will be discussed to death.

  43. As a racing fan, I can only agree with OP.

    This season was mostly great and we were fortunate to witness it. It waa only ever gonna end in a bad way though.

    With Mercedes easy win, or some kind of FIA intervention. Because Mercedes were clearly faster there were no romantic options, just forceful starts.. Or penalties, strategic blunders luck..

    But in the end a result that breaks Mercedes WDC streak.

    It is gonna be more fun if Lewis wins WDC next year.

    1. If he deserves it that would be nice!

      1. He deserved it this year because he was up again at a faster car overall

  44. Hamilton was robbed by the fia stewards in meddled to fix the end of the race.

    F1 isn’t a sport anymore but WWE with fake entertainment and fixed results..

    1. Centuplicate comment detected

  45. Blah blah Max, Blah blah Lewis, Blah blah Masi, Blah blah Stewards, …..
    It’s over. Nobody cares anymore how upset you are or happy you are over who is champion or who is to blame over the ending.
    The season is over. Spend time with your family, go outside or find something else to do that brings you joy. It makes no sense to be grumpy or whatever about this at this point.

    I am checking out until the Season starts again. Should be exciting with all the changes that are coming to the cars in 2022 and hopefully we see a close title fight like this past season with maybe even more drivers in it and meybe even some great surprises.

    1. Enjoy your break, but I bet you will still comment here, you are not some better racing fan!

  46. Talent was victorious. Everything else is just noise.

    1. I have to agree that what Masi cooked up in 5 minutes was very talented..

  47. So it’s racing when we do 3 safety car laps at Spa, but not racing to finish under the safety car.
    Another thing was the safety car going at normal pace or like it was wet to give time for clearing the scene of the accident. That would indicate the intent to finish under racing conditions, which is fair in a way.
    Why then did race control seek to protect Verstappen from other cars. Bottas could have lunged like Perez was dying to Hamilton, and delayed any attack on Hamilton by Max.

    Max could have still won it, but that great “we don’t know ” what could have happened if all cars had unlapped and thrown different dynamics to the last lap, if what still haunts done of us. The

    1. @OOliver

      Sainz was in third place, not Bottas, so I’m not sure how Bottas would be able to lunge on Max.

  48. Jose Lopes da Silva
    18th December 2021, 22:13

    (…psht…. first time viewers did not get anything wrong regarding the safety car… they might in the future, but for the moment it was great stuff…)

  49. The FIA are all-powerful, and are accountable to nobody. Surely they could reverse the decision, or at the very least declare Sir Lewis joint champion? I don’t see that they have any chance of repairing the damage and restoring their reputation if they don’t.

  50. Keith, remember the USGP 2005, there was a situation where a slight bending of the rules would have allowed us to have a real race…. You criticized the decision to stick with the rules at the time by saying for the media: “A shame the sport gave them nothing worthy of comment on Sunday”

    You know what they say about being careful what you wish for!

  51. Hold on, was Hamilton’s first title not tainted with crashgate in Singapore wrecking Massa’s points tally? We don’t hear that get mentioned now. Same way this won’t get mentioned in 10+ years time.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      19th December 2021, 10:01

      Neither we hear that Schumacher did not deserve one of his 7 titles…

      1. He didnt deserve 1994 for sure.

    2. crashgate, bit harsh for a racing incident. monza this year was a deliberate takeout

    3. “Hold on, was Hamilton’s first title not tainted with crashgate in Singapore wrecking Massa’s points tally? ”

      No, it wasn’t. Thats why no one mentions it.

      Did you miss the section of the race where Massa was dragging half of his garage down the pitlane with him when they couldn’t disconnect the fuel line?

      1. Massa was on pole and on for solid points in that race. The staged crash brought them into the pits early for a rushed stop. This is when the fuel line incident occured. It most definitely affected this race and Massa’s championship. In the end he only lost by a point yet Hamilton gained 6 on him because of this. Did you miss all that?

        1. “Did you miss all that?”

          Did you miss where he couldn’t keep his car facing the in the right direction in Silverstone?

          1. I was at that race, in the grandstand opposite the pits. I watched him spin off a few times, he was awful that day and didn’t deserve any points. Lewis drove brilliantly in the wet.
            My earlier point was that he was robbed by something completely out of his hands.

  52. Absolutely agree, hamilton deserved to win the last race, verstappen the title, and nothing like hungary happened to hamilton this year.

    1. Or Baku. Hamilton got no points due to a mistake on his part. Max really should have won this title a lot more comfortably.

  53. Mercedes, and Toto in particular, should also recognize that had they changed Hamilton’s tires when Verstappen did, Hamilton would likely have won the race and the championship, regardless of FIA’s safety car decisions. That one is on Mercedes.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      19th December 2021, 9:58

      If regulation 48.12 had been applied fully the race would of finished behind the safety car.

      I think you are making an assumption in hindsight on what Masi did to allow for one more lap of racing.

    2. No, cause as soon as HAM would have lost track position, then Masi would have let the race end behind SC. This was about to manifacture a new champ, and the Latifi crash gave them the opportunity.

      1. Not really. Masi was under pressure to finish the championship with a green flag as discussed by all the teams beforehand. It’s only at the end that it suited Mercedes to cruise around to another boring title win.

    3. No, because if Hamilton pitted, Verstappen would have stayed out, that was obvious to everyone

  54. Great article.
    I’m a bit doubtfull about: “The FIA has promised a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” in response.”
    They have shoved it in the past that they can “forget” things like they did with Ferrari a few years back. I think they are going to release it only to themselves and say that this case has been closed.
    I would be really surprised if they would actually release this to public.

  55. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckons that the controversy will quickly blow away – and all that anyone will focus on in the future is how Verstappen was so good over the campaign.

    “People in this business have very short memories,” said Horner. “We even forgot what’s happened earlier this year as it’s been such a long racing season.

    In the business maybe, possibly or plain don’t care as it didn’t affect them. On the forums I doubt it!

    1. Verstappen will get asked over and over about Abu Dhabi right up to the time he threatens to headbutt someone.

  56. This will forever be a tainted title and one that should come with an asterisk.

    All this rubbish about a season “balancing out over time” is nothing more a way for incompetent, side line journalists and media to validate a robbery.

    Nor was Masi in a tough place, the rules are clear and he did not follow them.

    Verstapen is a deserving winner but not the correct winner.

    1. Should Hamilton’s 08 title also come with an asterisk too then, for there being a manipulated race in Singapore that year?
      I wish people would stop coming out with this pathetic rubbish.

      1. Yes it absolutely should just like 2021.

        However 2021 is by far worse as it was the race director frankly cheating or incompetent- not a race team.

        Hence my comment that Max wholly deserves it however he is not the correct winner.

  57. No, Verstappen is undeserving of the title.

    He drove recklessly and unfairly all season and was absurdly under-penalized to set up the artificial last race drama.

    His fans are experts at false equivalence so they will bombard the internet with bogus claims of similar tactics by Hamilton, but it was obvious to anyone watching that Lewis backed off almost evry time Max’s dangerous lunges. One time he stood his ground and Max crashed himself out. Another time Max’s wheel ended up spinning a foot from Lewis’ head after he had deliberately crashed them both out of a race Hamilton would have won.

    I am really fed up at the apologists for this reckless driver. Wolff has to appear sporting, but Horner is a jerk for enabling this behavior. Horner is old enough to know better but acts like a cornered rat.

    Red Bull should be ashamed. But after all this is the company getting teenagers hooked on caffeine and sugar.

  58. Not sure about this article, because Max Verstappen made dirty moves throughout the year that would have got drive through penalties in years past, and when he got penaltues they were mild penalities or none at all like in Brazil. I think the non penalty in Brazil was perhaps harsher on Hamilton’s championship bid than the late call in Abu Dhabi. If Hamilton was as dirty a driver as Verstappen, on that last lap turn one in Abu Dhabi he would have short cutted turn 1 and kept advantage.it was dirty driver moments that went unpunished that got Verstappen over the line. If he can stop being a dirty driver than he will be a worthy champion. I also think Michael Schumacher should only be a 6 times works champion, and Ayrton Senna a 2 times champion. Hamilton has every reason to feel dissilutioned with the series. I think Max Verstappen is an amazing driver, worthy of winning multiple championships, but in this one he got lucky and didn’t deserve it because A: his rubbish wheel to wheel racing that went umpenalised and B: Michael Masi manipulating the last race.

    1. You are completely wrong. Watch a season review and you will find that Silverstone sparked everything off and turned it into a war. Max did what no other driver has done to Lewis, show him he can bully him back and go one better.

      1. I don’t recall Lewis having the nickname “crashition” whereas Verstapean was well
        Known as crashstpen

  59. I’ll repeat. I’m a Hamilton fan, but Max’s race 7 to 18 form was easily the better of the two.

    So if someone is the better driver over more or less 12 races pretty even for the others – then they deserve the title.

    However, Hamilton’s last four races were the best set I’d ever seen him drive. His mojo is firmly back and if 2022 brings, say, McLaren and Ferrari to the party, i.e. we get a 2010 scenario (where we had for the first and last time four drivers having a chance of been WDC at the last race) I see this benefiting him.

    Well done Max. Time to look forward.

  60. RebelAngelFloyd (@)
    19th December 2021, 13:42

    The old article back on top again ??

    Where is the news on who according to the team bosses was the best driver of 2021 ??

  61. Max is at best only 50% deserving champion as the standings say before the final GP farce.

  62. Max Verstappen had the opportunity to present the Karting World Champion award to Kean Nakamura and when the youngster was asked who his inspiration was to which he replied with name of Lewis Hamilton and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel but not Max Verstappen, prompting an awkward reaction from the Red Bull driver. He said, “I grew up watching Lewis drive, [and] Sebastian racing together. I’ve always looked up to all the top racers in F1 really.”

    1. Even youngsters understand who is the real F1 champion of 2021…

      1. The real champion is Max, is it not? I didn’t see anyone else holding the trophy.

        1. How can Max be real if he was 57 real laps behind Lewis and was gifted the trophy by the Cheats?!

          1. Well, we all saw him become champion so it must be real. He was also voted driver of the year by the team bosses.
            Take your tinfoil hat off and just get over it.

        2. Max is the champion but not a deserving champion.

          Max is a dirty driver who avoids punishment because the FIA are either racist or just want a show- or both. He drives for a dirty team.

          Red Bull gets teenagers hooked on caffeine and sugar. That’s dangerous for their health.

          Max is dangerous to the health of fair drivers.

  63. Courtesy of a golf website and twitter…
    Tiger is up 5 at Augusta on Rory. Chuck Hoffman is T20. gets struck by lightning on 14. They stop play and put Tiger and Rory on 18 green to chip off for the championship. Tiger gets a driver. Rory gets a wedge.

  64. Max led 652 laps this season, All other drivers combined led – 645.
    But I guess that’s because Max is second best or the Officials changed the lap count in his favour…

    1. Max 2021:
      Most laps led
      Most Pole positions
      Most wins
      Most podiums ever
      And yet somehow he is undeserving of the WDC – Seriously?

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        20th December 2021, 9:21

        Points are awarded as the cars cross the finish line. This is not school where you get a prize for just being in the competition.

        1. Agree – Most wins, Most podiums ever in a season. i.e. Most points and champion.
          The other stats speak to how good the driver is regardless of the points.

        2. Penalties are assessed to drivers who drive recklessly.
          Except to Max Verstappen, who gets a pass so he can score more points. This is not an objective system where you can see who crosses the line.

          It’s a system governed by the incompetent Masi- who appears biased.

  65. It’s all about perspective in the end. “This dismal end to the season”, was it really? For many out there it was akin to Larry Bird taking the last clutch shot of the game and nailing it. “This decision made a mockery of any notion of sporting fairness.”, you could also point out how Hamilton’s driving at Silverstone made a mockery of any notion of sporting fairness. Or Bottas taking out Verstappen? That was really fair! I could address every paragraph. I get the impression Keith that you were not too happy about the outcome of this grand prix. If so it shows. A just and completely fair outcome to the year in my eyes. Justice can be so beautiful. Stunningly so.

    1. @stash – 100% agree with you, in the context of the whole season the end result is the right one.

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