From incredible battles to this final and controversial aftermath, get ready for the Sky Original ‘Duel: Hamilton vs Verstappen’ airing on Saturday March 6
Toto Wolff has claimed in Sky’s must-see new F1 documentary that Michael Masi was ‘transformed’ by Red Bull at the end of last season and a ‘bromance’ helped Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the title .
Duel: Hamilton v Verstappen is a new original sky sports documentary telling the definitive story of the astonishing championship fight between Hamilton and Verstappen, featuring exclusive interviews with those at the center of the epic battles, drama and huge controversy that shaped 2021.
The two-part documentary premieres at 7 p.m. this Sunday on Sky Sports main event and Sky Sports F1after the Manchester derby. It will then be available on demand, while it will also be on Sky Showcase and Sky Documentaries from Monday 7 March.
In it, Mercedes boss Wolff cuts a frustrated and still deeply hurt figure, still dealing with Hamilton’s controversial loss to Verstappen, which he says was entirely due to race director Masi’s ‘poor decisions’ and that he was ‘transformed’ by Red Bull – pointing to both the Abu Dhabi GP finale and the penultimate race in Saudi Arabia as examples.
Masi, who has since been dropped by the FIA, reached an ‘agreement’ with Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley over restart grid positions in Saudi Arabia, before appearing to change his mind on the rules of the safety car amid Red Bull protests in Abu Dhabi.
Wolff describes Masi and Wheatley’s relationship as a “bromance” and says, “Jonathan Wheatley has done his job.
“He became Michael Masi the race director, not just in Abu Dhabi but before, and Max probably owes him a lot. »
Sky F1’s Martin Brundle has said teams should not be able to pressure a race director while critical decisions are being made, following the controversial Abu Dhabi season finale.
On Masi, Wolff, who has since said he wants to “move on” from 2021, adds: “I haven’t spoken to him and I never want to speak to him again. »
With Masi now replaced following an investigation into Abu Dhabi – which also led to a restructuring of the refereeing – Wolff admits the Australian has been a “victim”.
“His decisions were bad and I’m sure he regrets them,” he said. “The FIA should have seen much earlier that there was a problem. There was a structural problem. There was a personality problem. »
Verstappen finally clinched the title after passing Hamilton on the final lap, helped by Masi’s decision which saw the Dutchman run on fresh soft tires and Hamilton on old hard ones. As Wolff says, “It’s like a football match where a team is 1-0 down and all of a sudden the referee says, ‘Now that’s the golden goal. 0-0, whoever scores the next goal wins.
Experience the incredible conclusion of the Abu Dhabi GP in the cars of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton and listen to team radios, including Hamilton saying the race was ‘manipulated’.
“’And by the way, we have to play without boots.’ »
Wolff concludes about Verstappen’s triumph: “I feel for Max.
“He deserves the world championship… but we’re only talking about Abu Dhabi. »
Verstappen and Horner reflect on the drama of 2021
Duel: Hamilton v Verstappen also includes exclusive interviews with Verstappen and his Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, who have always said they deserved the championship thanks to a superb season.
Verstappen talks about his career and some of the intense battles with Hamilton throughout the year, as well as his racing style.
“Sometimes I have to take risks and try to dive inside or try to force a move,” says Verstappen. “But, at the end of the day, that’s my style and that’s how I’ve won more races than I’ve lost. »
And the Red Bull pair also have a say in this controversy in Abu Dhabi.
On Masi’s handling of the safety car and the fact that there was one more race lap, Horner insisted: “He didn’t break the rules.
“He may have applied the rules slightly differently in this circumstance, but there is nothing he has done that actually breaks the rules. »
Horner also says Masi needed more support, saying the race director faced “bullying and online abuse” after the title finale.
Verstappen also sympathizes with Masi, who has been replaced by two race directors for 2021.
“You can always tell if it was good, if it was bad, what he did in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said.
“But I think what Michael stood for was always racing.
“I think it’s very harsh what they did to him and they really knocked him down. »
Watch Duel: Hamilton vs Verstappen on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports F1 from 7pm on Sunday.
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‘Masi has been transformed’ | New Hamilton-Max doc delivers new claims – Reuters