What happened at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix yesterday wasn’t fair, it was Lewis Hamilton’s race: Narain Karthikeyan | Race news

NEW DELHI: The controversial end to an epic title fight in the 2021 season did not go down well with India’s first Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan.
At the season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, there were a number of questionable calls to race management as Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to win his first title and deny the Briton a record-breaking eighth crown.
“As the whole situation developed, it seemed like they wanted to win Max. It was a great fight for the championship, but what happened yesterday wasn’t a sport. In Formula 1 you need close fights, but it has to be at the same time be fair.” Time, “Karthikeyan told PTI.

Hamilton was on his way to victory when Nicholas Latifi’s crash brought the safety car onto the track on lap 53 of the 58-lap race.
In a final throw of the dice, Red Bull pitied Verstappen because of the soft tires after the safety car was deployed while Hamilton stayed on his worn hard tires.

In what was probably the most controversial call of the Formula 1 decade, race director Michael Masi let five hillbilly riot romp around on the penultimate lap, which made it much easier for Verstappen to switch to Hamilton.
According to the regulations, the safety car should have driven back on the following lap, the last lap of the race.
“If the race director does not consider the presence of the safety car to be necessary, the safety car drives to the pits at the end of the following lap after the leader has passed the last lapped car,” is the rule.

Social media was a shared space after the finale, as some said Mercedes’ racing strategy was too safe. However, Karthikeyan believes Mercedes was right not to pit Hamilton after the crash.
“What Mercedes would have done, Red Bull would have done the opposite and stayed out to take the position on the track, so it was too risky. Lewis had so much pace and hard tires lasted 50 laps so why should you give that up? ”

“Before the safety car, the gap between Hamilton and Verstappen was still more than 11 seconds. What happened was not fair and Lewis would have deserved the eight-time champion, with due respect for Max, who is a very fast driver,” said the 44-year-old who drove in Formula 1 for three seasons between 2005 and 2012.
Interestingly, Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington had worked with Karthikeyan during the Indian’s debut season with Jordan in 2005.
“Lewis’ race engineer was my race engineer my first season with Jordan. He’s a very smart guy and he made the right decisions.”
Like many after the title showdown, Karthikeyan remembered the former race director, the late Charlie Whiting, and said he had coped with the pressure much better.

“That happens when you are under pressure. He (Michael Masi) was bombed from all sides on the radio.”
So what is to be done in the future?
“Every scenario is different. You need a strong man at the top. Everyone said that if Charlie Whiting were there it would be much fairer. He never gave in to the pressure of the teams.”
“On the open channel, he would have ignored the constant urge of the teams and carried on with his job. These situations will certainly occur, the race management should have been better prepared for a situation like yesterday as it was possible.
“We can give them the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t take sides with anyone yesterday and that the calls were made under tremendous pressure and things went terribly wrong.
“With all the controversy aside, Lewis certainly deserved the win if you look at the race in general. It was definitely his race, so not a fair result,” added Karthikeyan.