Wolff still can't get 'incomprehensible' Abu Dhabi 2021 off his mind

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director on the grid. 02.10.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Race
© XPB 

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he still often thinks about the "incomprehensible" events that unfolded in Abu Dhabi in 2021, although his anger has subsided.

Formula 1's dramatic finale at Yas Marina in 2021 was on course to deliver a record-breaking eight title to Lewis Hamilton when the race was turned on its head by race director Michael Masi's decision to offer fans one final lap of racing.

In doing so, Masi not only circumvented F1's safety car rules, he sealed Hamilton's fate as the Briton was helpless in defending his leading position on the final lap against Red Bull's Max Verstappen who was armed with fresher tyres.

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The massive controversy that ensued eventually led to Masi's demise and to a restructuring of F1's race control by the FIA. However, the race's result – and Hamilton's unfair defeat – will forever remain in Grand Prix racing's history books.

"It was tough after Abu Dhabi," admitted Wolff.

"I have always liked the principle that the stopwatch never lies; the team that wins is the one that deserves to be the champion.

"But this was different. At the end of the race, an individual took decisions that were not reflected anywhere in the rule book and were so drastic that they made the outcome unbelievable.

"That is a moment when you fall out of love with the sport… the principle of fairness was breached."

Masi's dismissal was of little consolation to Wolff who admitted that the fateful events that unfolded that day in Abu Dhabi are still entrenched in his mind.

"The FIA took the guy out of the job because it was a human error," he added.

"But it's done and dusted now. I still think about it a lot, but not with anger; it is just incomprehensible how it came about."

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