Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Red Bull team “played rough” with F1’s race director Michael Masi in order to get rid of Lewis Hamilton. Damon Hill claims that Christian Horner’s words changed Masi’s mind regarding lapped cars.

  • Damon Hill says Red Bull was ‘played rough with F1 Race Director Michael Masi’
  • Max Verstappen won the driver’s title after a chaotic final lap at Abu Dhabi GP 
  • Teams were instructed by a safety car that lapped cars cannot unlap themselves
  • Masi’s decision was changed after Christian Horner from Red Bull, the chief of Red Bull, spoke to Masi.
  • This allowed Verstappen, controversially surpassing Lewis Hamilton to win the race and win
  • Stay connected to LIVE for the latest news as Mercedes continues its battle 

Damon Hill was a former F1 champion and Red Bull has been accused of “playing rough” with Michael Masi. Christian Horner, the race director, was allegedly able to get an edge to give Max Verstappen the title.

On Sunday, the controversial Abu Dhabi final race saw the Dutchman win his title challenger and Mercedes driver. This was just after the safety car had been brought out with only a few laps remaining.

Hamilton seemed to be easing his path to the title. However, Nicholas Latifi’s collision threw off the race, which was before the late FIA decision that lapped cars were out of the equation. Verstappen made his move on Hamilton on the last lap. 

Christian Horner (left) and Max Verstappen (right) celebrate on the podium after the Dutchman won his first ever world championship

Former F1 champion Damon Hill accused Red Bull of 'playing rough' with 'new rules'

Christian Horner and Max Verstappen (left picture, left and right) celebrated  on the podium after the Dutchman won his first ever world championship; but Damon Hill (right) believes Red Bull ‘played rough’ with ‘new rules’ to win the drivers’ title

Hill claims Horner 'persuaded' F1 race director Michael Masi (pictured) to change the rules

Hill alleges Horner convinced Michael Masi (pictured), F1 racing director, to amend the rules

Masi initially stated that lapped vehicles would not be permitted to unlap their cars, but Red Bull chief Horner changed Masi’s mind and allowed Hamilton, Verstappen, and five other cars from the Red Bull group to do so, effectively ending the Brit’s 13 second lead.

Hamilton could not defend the race because Verstappen had newer soft tyres and Verstappen had pitted during the safety cars. The Dutchman pulled off a spectacular overtake to win his first-ever world title. 

Hill said to Sky Sports: “I think these new rules are,”

Verstappen's fresher tyres allowed him to dive down beyond Hamilton and then win the title

Verstappen won the title thanks to Verstappen’s use of fresher tyres.

Hamilton led for most of the race in Abu Dhabi, but was then overtaken on the very last lap

Hamilton was leading for the majority of Abu Dhabi’s race, but Hamilton was overtaken by the last lap.

“It’s a new way to race direct, and I believe Mercedes struggle with making the correct decisions.

Red Bull had a rough time, but they convinced the race director that cars should race. It should also be a solid formula.

Hill was not necessarily supportive of Red Bull’s or Horner’s strategies, but the ex-champion insists that ‘the right man won’ because Verstappen has won more races than any other F1 driver. 

He added, “You can’t have both of them win, unfortunately.”

Hill insists 'the right man won' given how Verstappen won more races over the F1 calendar

Hill insists ‘the right man won’ given how Verstappen won more races over the F1 calendar

‘I think Max has fought valiantly; I think the right man won – if there can be such a thing.

“I feel for Lewis. He has fought through all of it, with Mercedes and everything else. They’re facing a formidable Red Bull driver and team.

Mercedes filed two complaints to the FIA following the race. Both were denied in order to confirm Verstappen’s position at the top.