A radio message sent by Carlos Sainz to his Ferrari team ahead of the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix sums up the farce that followed.
Race director Michael Masi made the decision to tear up the rulebook for the sake of entertainment as the safety car ended one lap short of the chequered flag.
As a result, Max Verstappen, with his newer, soft tyres on his Red Bull, was able to breeze past Lewis Hamilton, who had a 10+ second advantage prior to Nicholas Latifi’s crash.
Mercedes feel as though they have been robbed, and you can understand why. Their frustration was shared by several drivers of other teams after the race’s conclusion, notably George Russell and Lando Norris.
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Radio messages have now emerged that were shared between Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and his team, during which the Spaniard reveals his belief that the race should end under the safety car in the interest of fairness.
Carlos Sainz last lap radio
Sainz: “I think it would be unfair to restart this race. We should stay behind the safety car”
Adami: “Yup, understood”
Sainz: “Giving massive advantage to some people”#F1 #AbuDhabiGP pic.twitter.com/k4MP4c0lCA
— Vincenzo Landino (@vincenzolandino) December 13, 2021
Regardless of whether Verstappen’s triumph and Hamilton’s defeat directly affected any given driver, they can’t have been happy to see the rules of the sport bent in a way that benefited one of the two title competitors.
It’s not a good look for the sport, especially when the eyes of the world were on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following what had been arguably the greatest World Championship battle in history.