Nico Rosberg tells of his willingness to befriend Lewis Hamilton
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Ex-Formula One driver Roman Grosjean has offered support to under-fire FIA race director Michael Masi following the events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The FIA have been urged by many to sack Masi after his actions led to Max Verstappen winning his maiden world title at Lewis Hamilton’s expense last month.
Masi allowed the race to resume with the final lap after a safety car, and Verstappen, on fresh tyres, comfortably overtook Hamilton who had dominated proceedings and was on course for a record-breaking eighth title.
Those calling for the Australian to lose his job reportedly include Mercedes, who dropped their appeal over Verstappen’s victory in agreement that he and Nikolas Tombazis would be dismissed.
However, as the 2022 season draws ever closer, Masi is still the FIA’s F1 race director, and Hamilton’s future is coincidentally still uncertain.
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And whilst Grosjean admitted it was harsh on Hamilton, he has backed Masi’s decision from a spectator’s perspective, regardless of the sport’s regulations which suggest the decision-maker flouted the rules.
He said: “I loved it. It was exciting. I mean, my heart was going; it was pumping like hell. There are a few ways of seeing it.
“It would have been very strange not to unlap those cars and have Lewis first and then Max four cars behind over one lap for the world championship.
“And, on the other hand, for Lewis, it was definitely not a great call. But as a TV fan, as a spectator, as for the sport, I think Michael Masi made the right decision.
“I don’t think the championship would have been nice to finish under the Safety Car. It would not have been nice to finish with the guys first and second being separated by a few cars.
“I was more Lewis’ side than Max – so I was kind of like ‘oh, Lewis lost it’! Over the last part of the season, Mercedes made an incredible job. But I thought it was so cool to get those two guys going together.”
Grosjean also believes Verstappen deserved to become world champion based on the 2021 season as a whole.
And he explained a few incidents where the Dutchman experienced the kind of bad luck that Hamilton did in Abu Dhabi to substantiate his claim.
“I think the wrong conception is to think that the world championship went on one lap. It was 22 Grands Prix,” Grosjean added.
“If we look at the full season, you know, Max had a puncture in Baku, Valtteri Bottas crashed into Verstappen in Hungary, there was the Silverstone race.
“So at the end, I think if we look at how many points were lost by Verstappen – not necessarily by his fault – he was the one that deserved the championship more.
“On the Abu Dhabi race, Lewis deserved the championship more – he got unlucky over the last lap. But as a race fan, I loved that last lap, and it was super exciting to watch.”
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