The fall out to yesterday's incredible drama in Abu Dhabi continues. After an unsuccessful protest, Max Verstapen was last night confirmed as F1 Driver's World Champion for 2021.
The Mercedes F1 team celebrated deep into the night with boss Toto Wolff going viral for a stagedriving/crowdsurfing leap at the triumphant afterparty.
I am absolutely losing my mind at this video of Toto Wolff crowdsurfing in a club pic.twitter.com/fRr9qsy42y
— Daniel Golson (Hex Hector Remix) (@dsgolson) December 13, 2021
Meanwhile the likes of Piers Morgan continue to tweet their dissatisfaction with how the F1 season was decided.
New F1 World Champion @Max33Verstappen’s Grand Prix win yesterday was thrillingly unpredictable, sensationally exciting, and also completely unfair… @LewisHamilton was robbed by rule-bending officials who wanted to give us all a great dramatic TV moment. That’s not sport. pic.twitter.com/VKvgg6EITc
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 13, 2021
One nagging allegation from people who support Hamilton is that the finale was engineered with a television audience in mind.
The more I think about the #AbuDhabiGP, the more I think those watching were as robbed as during the two-lap #BelgiumGP. This was scripted reality, not genuine sporting drama because Hamilton actually had zero chance of winning. (1/2)
— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) December 13, 2021
It was interesting to hear McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris - who finished seventh overall - say after the race that the controversial move to let just five cars pass the safety cars and unlap themselves was done with the televison audience in mind.
While speaking to RaceFans.com after the race, Norris said:
"I don’t know what decisions were made based upon things the stewards said in the first place"
“If that [decision to maintain order] then made Lewis or made Mercedes make the decision to not box, but then later on they suddenly said now they’re allowed to overtake, then I guess that’s not acceptable.
“I don’t know exactly what was said or what was done or so on [in race control], but a controversial end, that’s all I can say.
I didn’t actually know it was only the first three or four up to Max [going past]. So it was obviously made to be a fight. It was for the TV, of course. It was for the result.
Whether or not it was fair, it’s hard for me to decide.”
Norris also explained how he experienced the confusing drama around the safety car, where the original instructions around passing the safety car were shelved.
“Sometimes they let you go, sometimes they don’t. It’s just fifty-fifty, half the time.
“But the call, they said they’re not going to let us pass. So I’m guessing that was a message to say they were just not going to let us pass at all. But then to suddenly do it just for the final lap and for a one-lap shootout, I’m a bit surprised by.”
The Netflix programme 'Drive To Survive' has brought a massive new audience to F1 and there is a cohort of people who feel yesterday's drama was manufactured in some way for the sake of the spectacle.
Regardless of who is right, Verstappen wakes up this morning as champion.