Max Verstappen took the F1 world title on the Yas Marina circuit after race director Michael Masi decided to stop the race with one lap to go after a brief safety car period triggered by an accident involving Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, restart.
The Red Bull driver had been switched to soft tires for the final shootout lap, while Hamilton was powerless to withstand him due to his well-used hard tires.
Mercedes protested the FIA’s request to restart the race with one lap before the end, claiming that the regulations provided that it could only be restarted on the following lap after the returns were instructed to open themselves.
After a lengthy hearing with the stewards, the FIA ââdismissed Mercedes’ complaints – Masi had the universal right to decide when the safety car would pull in, and claims that the regulations that provided for the “next lap” were controlled by others Clause has been repealed.
Following the decision of the FIA ââcommissioners, Horner welcomed the call – and made it clear that his team had no desire to end the championship in the commissioners’ room.
When asked if he understood why Mercedes had filed its complaints, Horner said, âIt obviously felt a bit desperate. But we didn’t want it to end before the stewards.
âThey were great competitors this year. And Lewis was a phenomenal driver. It had its moments, it was tense. It was hard. But we’re just happy with the result. And very proud of Max tonight. It was phenomenal all year round. “
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, celebrates with team members
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Horner said he had no doubt that Masi made the right decision to get the race going again instead of finishing it behind the safety car.
“We never wanted to end up in front of the stewards,” he said. âOf course there was a lot of discussion before the race, but as it turned out, it was of course very different after the race.
âBut we don’t run races with lawyers and so on. It was a shame it ended up there, but the stewards made the right decision. “
Horner said that when Masi decided to bring in the safety car before the last lap, he again expressed his desire to follow the mantra âLet them raceâ.
âWe talked about letting them race,â added Horner. âYou know, Niki Lauda was the guy who pushed hard for it. And we always talked about not finishing races under safety cars.
âThe race director made the absolutely right decision today under difficult circumstances. And you know, strategically we got it right. “