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Formula 1

Michael Masi Had Previously Set A Precedent That Went Against Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Decision

Ryan Sidle

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Michael Masi Had Previously Set A Precedent That Went Against Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Decision

Michael Masi has been in a similar situation between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton before Sunday's Abu Dhabi grand prix, but he made a very different decision.

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Masi is the race director at the centre of Sunday's controversy, as Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the last lap of the Abu Dhabi grand prix to clinch the F1 drivers world championship.

With six laps to go, Nicholas Latifi's crash caused the deployment of a safety car and, with Verstappen pitting, there were several cars between the two race leaders.

Masi initially decided no one would be able to unlap themselves, in order to let the race be completed not behind the safety car, but he soon changed his mind.

However that change only saw those driving between the two front runners allowed to unlap themselves and not, for example, those between Verstappen and third place Carlos Sainz, who wasn't impressed.

Hamilton and Mercedes, who have protested the decision, also weren't happy and it's no surprise, seeing as Masi himself set a precedent just over a year ago.

Massi had to make some huge decisions on Sunday. Image: PA Images
Massi had to make some huge decisions on Sunday. Image: PA Images

At the Eifel Grand Prix in October 2020, Lando Norris' crash caused a safety car incident and on that day the lapped cars were allowed to unlap themselves.

Over the radio Masi announced, "There's a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars past."

There has obviously been plenty of races with safety cars in between October last year and last Sunday's race, and no doubt cars unlapping themselves too, but it's Masi's line that makes it all the more pertinent.

He openly says it's a sporting requirement to allow all the lapped cars to go through, and not just the ones that were behind the first and second place drivers in Germany.

Hamilton won the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, to equal Michael Schumacher's 91 race wins, after Masi waited for all cars to unlap themsleves.
Hamilton won the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, to equal Michael Schumacher's 91 race wins, after Masi waited for all cars to unlap themsleves.

Had that also happened in Abu Dhabi then it would have taken another lap until the safety could have pulled into the pit lane and there would have been no more racing.

That's why it looked at first as if Masi was going to allow the race to continue without unlapping cars, who would still have had to get out of Verstappen's way on blue flags but it would have slowed him down.

Instead the race director made a sort of halfway house decision, that led to the 'manufactured' ending that Hamilton complained about on his radio.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen

Ryan Sidle
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