Monday morning debrief after 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Opening as much as the security automobile interval that turned the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on its head – and Mercedes’ protests defined


Was it essentially the most dramatic and controversial finale of the World Championships finale within the historical past of the game? Whereas it’s positively a contender, with Brazil 2008 and Japan 1976.

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes dominated the occasion from the primary lap to the ultimate one, however Max Verstappen’s Pink Bull gained the – and thus the championship – on the final lap in circumstances Mercedes believed had been invalid. Have been.

The brawl started on lap 52, six from the tip, when Nicolas Latifi – battling Mick Schumacher’s Haas – crashed his Williams into the Flip 14 boundaries. Presently Hamilton was 11 seconds forward of Verstappen and headed for an unprecedented eighth World Championship.

Learn extra: Fearless and sensible – why F1’s newest champion Verstappen has proven his true colours in 2021


Hamilton was main the race with a handful of laps when the security automobile was referred to as

security automobile. With the security automobile slowing down, that is the right alternative to get new tires for a restart. Except after all you are main the race with little time to get into the pits, substitute your tires and speed up again as much as the entrance once more. Eleven seconds will not be sufficient to do that. On this state of affairs, pitting Hamilton would all the time have prompted Pink Bull to go away Verstappen, who was nearly within the lead with the race.

Mercedes needed to go away Hamilton there – on the onerous compound tyres that had been in operation from lap 14 onwards. Hamilton doubtlessly sat last-gasp for the race and championship together with his opponent on a model new set on his gearbox. His title being taken from him by tender random luck.

READ MORE: ‘It was an emotional rollercoaster’ says Horner after Verstappen title win

However … it appeared that it won’t attain him. We had been operating out of laps as quickly because the automobile and particles had been cleared. It appeared fully attainable that the race would finish underneath the security automobile. Over time there was a normal settlement with the groups that the race director ought to all the time attempt to end the race underneath the phrases of the inexperienced sign, even when just for a lap or two, as in Baku earlier this 12 months. occurred.


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On the ultimate lap, Verstappen handed his opponent on the lead, and for the championship.

On this state of affairs, it will have been unimaginable to realize if regular sport regulation protocols had been adopted. By lap 56, with two laps to go, the scene was near clear. On this state of affairs, the lapped vehicles are often allowed to open themselves up and the security automobile then drops into the pit on the finish of the next lap, giving these vehicles an opportunity to hitch the again of the pack earlier than the race goes reside. . However there was no time to take action. This will have seen the security automobile peeling off a checkered flag right into a pothole lane in a nook.

It isn’t obligatory for lapped vehicles to permit themselves to unlap, however it’s on the discretion of the race director. On this case it regarded like that might be the case. Nonetheless, there have been 5 lapped vehicles between Hamilton and Verstappen – of Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel – so the ending might not be as dramatic.

So the 5 lapped vehicles particularly between Hamilton and Verstappen had been allowed to open themselves, and the security automobile could be approaching the tip of that lap, giving one lap of racing. Hamilton’s worst fears had been realized and Verstappen duly overtook him on his a lot gripper tyres, to win each the race and the title.

ONBOARD: ‘Max Verstappen you’re the world champion’ – relive the second the Pink Bull driver claimed his maiden title

Facet-by-side: Verstappen and Hamilton’s last lap shootout for drivers’ title

A livid Mercedes crew filed two protests, one in regards to the restart course of and the opposite, arguing that Verstappen had momentarily handed Hamilton underneath the security automobile.

The primary opposing argument was made underneath Article 48.12 of the Sports activities Guidelines, which states:

If the clerk of the course deems it protected to take action, and the “Lapped Automobiles Might Now Overtake” message has been despatched to all rivals through the official messaging system, any vehicles lapped by the chief will probably be required to go. Automobiles on lead lap and security automobile. This may apply solely to vehicles that had lapped whereas crossing the road on the finish of the lap, throughout which they crossed the primary security automobile line for the second time after the security automobile was deployed.

After overtaking vehicles on the lead lap and the security automobile, these vehicles should proceed across the observe on the correct pace with out overtaking, and make each effort to take a place behind the road of vehicles behind the security automobile. Automobiles on the lead lap should all the time stay on the racing line until deviated from it, whereas they’re overtaking, and to make sure that this may be completed safely.

Except the clerk of the course feels that the presence of the security automobile continues to be not mandatory, as soon as the final lapped automobile has handed the chief, the security automobile will return to the pits on the finish of the next lap. If the Clerk of the Course feels that the observe circumstances are unsuitable for overtaking, the message “Overtaking Will Not Be Permitted” will probably be despatched to all rivals through the official messaging system.

READ MORE: Stewards reject Mercedes’ Abu Dhabi Grand Prix protest, as crew intends to enchantment


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Pink Bull had been lastly in a position to have a good time when the stewards introduced their resolution a number of hours later

The stewards dismissed the enchantment arguing that article 48.12 was overridden by article 48.13, which said:

When the Clerk of the Course decides that it’s protected to name within the Security Automotive, a “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” message will probably be despatched to all rivals through the official messaging system and the automobile’s orange mild will exit. This may sign to rivals and drivers that it will enter the pit lane on the finish of that lap.

After contemplating the varied statements made by the events, the Steward determines the next:

That Article 15.3 permits the Race Director to regulate the usage of the Security Automotive, together with its deployment and return, in our willpower. Though paragraph 48.12 could not have been totally applied, with respect to a security automobile returning to the pit on the finish of the next lap, paragraph 48.13 overrides this and as soon as the “security automobile on this lap” message is displayed , it’s obligatory to withdraw the security automobile on the finish of that lap.

Regardless of Mercedes’ request that the stewards resolved the matter by revising the classification to replicate the positions on the finish of the ultimate lap, a transfer that the stewards consider was retroactive to the race successfully. smaller than , and subsequently not applicable.

READ MORE: ‘I’ve achieved all the pieces’ – Verstappen says additional F1 success will probably be ‘a bonus’ after claiming maiden title


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Hamilton was prepared for defeat after coming very near the title

With regard to overtaking behind a security automobile, Article 48.8 states:

Apart from the circumstances listed underneath a) to h) under, no driver could overtake some other automobile on the observe, together with a security automobile, until he’s in line for the primary time after the security automobile has returned. (see paragraph 5.3). to the pits.

The stewards additionally rejected this protest on the next grounds:

After contemplating the varied statements made by the events. The stewards decided that though Automotive 33 [Verstappen] In a single step, for a really quick time, transfer barely in entrance of automobile 44, at a time when each vehicles the place accelerating and braking, moved behind automobile 44 [Hamilton] And it was not in entrance when the security automobile expired (ie on the road).

Highlights: Relive Hamilton and Verstappen’s dramatic battle at Abu Dhabi GP

On such issues, the turning level of the 2021 championship got here. And it is a championship decider that individuals are prone to be discussing for a few years to return.



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