With the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend on it’s way, many are reflecting on the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi GP which saw Max Verstappen take his first championship win. Sky Sports F1 reporter, Martin Brundle has spoken about the events from last years grand prix, explaining that “some people will never forget that moment”.
The controversial part of the race was the end when it was under a safety car. Lewis Hamilton was racing in first place with Verstappen in second but there was some lapped cars in between them. Usually when a safety car is ending all lapped cars will be able to un-lap themselves before the race gets going again. However, there was not enough time to un-lap all of the cars so in theory the race would go until the end under the safety car, but race director at the time Michael Masi instructed only the lapped cars in-between Hamilton and Verstappen to un-lap themselves but not the others. The race then got going again and Verstappen overtook Hamilton on his newer tyres.
Speaking ahead of this weekends Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Brundle explained:
“Well it’s the story that’s going to run for a very long time in F1. Controversial, dramatic, emotional. Some people will never forget that moment. They feel that Lewis was denied a championship that was his.
“Others saw it in a different way. Clearly the regulations weren’t applied and however much we talk about, however hard we try and find reverse gear, and whatever people’s perspectives are, it’s not going to change but we are certainly going to have to talk about it next weekend.”
Brundle also went on to discuss the hot topic of Verstappen refusing to follow team orders last weekend at the Brazilian Grand Prix. There has been a lot of backlash from the moment when Verstappen wouldn’t let teammate Sergio Perez past him to help him with his efforts to get second place in the championship. Brundle explained:
“He (Verstappen) refused due to some historical reason that had apparently already been discussed. I believe this to be over antics during qualifying back in Monaco.
“Max will also no doubt remember how Sergio held up Lewis [Hamilton] in Abu Dhabi last year, which played a key role in Lewis not being able to pit for fresh tyres under the Safety Car, and how he fought Lewis so hard in Baku along with other examples which helped Max seal the 2021 title. I believe he called him a ‘legend’ back then.
“This is not a popularity contest, it’s the brutal world of F1, but you still need friends and respect, and giving Sergio a meagre sixth place when the championship is already in his pocket would have cost Max nothing. It’s the second boomerang in two races which has come back to hit Max pretty hard.”
Despite the drama from last weekend, Red Bull seem confident that they are all moving forward as a team and everyone will be supporting Perez as Verstappen has already taken the win for the driver’s championship this year.