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Romain Grosjean

Grosjean backs Masi's decisions at F1 season finale

Romain Grosjean believes that Michael Masi made the right decisions in the closing stages of the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton Verstappen start Aub Dhabi
To news overview © Mercedes

Romain Grosjean has backed FIA Race Director Michael Masi's calls during the closing stages of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Masi has come under fire for how he handled the Safety Car restart at the very end of the race, a decision that proved pivotal in deciding the outcome of the Drivers' Championship.

But Grosjean isn't one of the voices criticising Masi, with the F1 veteran turned IndyCar driver saying he felt the beleaguered Race Director had made the right call.

"There's a few ways of seeing it," Grosjean told media at an IndyCar press conference on Monday, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

"It would have been very strange to not unlap those cars and have Lewis first and then Max four cars behind over one lap for the World Championship.

"On the other hand, for Lewis it was definitely not a great call but, as a TV fan, as a spectator, for the sport, I think Michael Masi make 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 being separated on track being first and second separated by a few cars."

"Hamilton got unlucky on the last lap"

Grosjean went on to explain that he had been cheering for Hamilton in the season finale, but felt the Hamilton/Verstappen rivalry had been something special to watch over the whole year.

"I was more Lewis' side than Max, so I was kind of, 'Oh, Lewis lost it over the last part of the season; Max did the same, made an incredible job. But I thought it was so cool to get those two guys going together," he said.

But as the action came down to the final race of the year heading into the 'winner takes all' scenario in Abu Dhabi, Grosjean said it had been a race for the ages.

"I loved it!" he said. "It was exciting; my heart was pumping like hell! And I think having two cars fighting over one lap for the World Championship was amazing.

"I think the wrong conception is to think that the World Championship went on one lap. It was 22 Grands Prix and, if you look at the full season, Max had the puncture in Baku, Valtteri Bottas crashed into Verstappen in Hungary, there was the Silverstone race.

"I think, at the end, if we look at how many points were lost by Verstappen, not necessarily by his fault, he was the one that deserved more the championship.

"On the Abu Dhabi race, Lewis deserved more the championship. He got unlucky over the last lap. But as a race fan, I loved that last lap, and it was super exciting to watch."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: How real is the threat that Hamilton will leave F1?

F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour weigh up the possibility that Lewis Hamilton might leave F1 behind, as well as analysing what might be uncovered during the FIA investigation into the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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