1996 F1 champion Damon Hill admits the results of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix were “in some sense manipulated”, which made them “unsatisfactory” and “unfair”.
The debate over the controversial decisions that were made at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which basically handed the world title to Max Verstappen, is still raging on.
While Damon Hill got into a little scuffle with fans of Lewis Hamilton on social media over their insistence that the results of the race were unfair and “manipulated”, he himself basically admitted the same thing during his Sky Sports F1 discussion with Martin Brundle and Johnny Herbert.
“I think that obviously, the Lewis Hamilton fans feel very aggrieved, and Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes do because of the way the decision went – it disadvantaged them and they felt robbed,” Hill said.
“So there’s a lot of ill feeling. Obviously, in the Dutch camp, they’re very happy with the result, but was it a satisfactory way of deciding a championship? You have to say it was unsatisfactory, and I think it might even have been unfair.
“Because, if you look at it from the point of view of how the decision was made, it allowed some cars to unlap themselves, but not others. Now, that in itself is unfair.
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“What it resulted with is a focus on the two title protagonists. I don’t think you can run a motor race or championship like that; you have to apply the rules equally to all competitors.”
Asked if he believes the results were manipulated, he basically said they were.
“Manipulated is a very strong word. I think it was, in some sense, manipulated, because I think that Michael Masi was under pressure to allow this exciting, thrilling race to happen between the two drivers.
“And I think he caved into pressure from both sides. But possibly more from the attempt to let Max come through the field.
“And that’s why he basically allowed only the cars between Max and Lewis to unlap themselves,” concluded the 1996 champion.