George Russell: Abu Dhabi GP outcome 'unacceptable'

George Russell has put in his feelings on the outcome of today's Abu Dhabi GP in no uncertain terms, whilst others drivers gave their views too

George Russell portrait in 2021


Formula 1 drivers have reacted to the outcome of the dramatic and controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with George Russell branding it “unacceptable”, and many expressing their confusion over the decision by Michael Masi.

Hamilton looked to be set for the win and the title, before a crash by Russell’s team-mate Nicholas Latifi brought out the safety car.

With the field bunched up but with several cars between Hamilton and Verstappen, race director Michael Masi ultimately decided to only allow the cars in between the two title contenders to unlap themselves, before putting put the green flag with one lap left to run. Verstappen seized his chance, overtook the Mercedes and claimed a last gasp win and first drivers’ title.

Russell, who is a Mercedes junior driver and will be Hamilton’s team-mate at Mercedes next season, was unequivocal in his view on the matter, immediately tweeting out his opinion after the race.

“THIS IS UNNACEPTABLE,” he wrote, before adding below. “Max is an absolutely fantastic driver who has had an incredible season and I have nothing but huge respect for him, but what just happened is absolutely unacceptable. I cannot believe what we’ve just seen.”

When on the Mercedes decision to protest was announced, provisional world champion Verstappen pithily commented: “I think it sums up a little bit the season.”

Other drivers queried the unclear interpretation of the rules, whilst also congratulating Verstappen on finally (for now) toppling Hamilton and Mercedes.

“I’m not too sure what was said from the FIA,” said Lando Norris. “At first we weren’t allowed to overtake the backmarkers.

“So if that influenced decisions, to Mercedes and to Lewis and that’s the reason they didn’t do the pitstop… But then they suddenly the FIA suddenly changed their minds and then they were allowed to let us past. That’s where I’m not so sure.”

Fernando Alonso implied a lack of clarity with the rules also.

“When I passed to unlap myself, I had Lewis in front and Max four cars behind, so obviously [I’m] surprised now to see the reverse order on that classification,” the Alpine driver commented.

“This has been a terrific championship to have two contenders tied on points in the last race and fighting wheel to wheel on the last lap of the last race. This is something unbelievable. So well done to the sport in general and to Max.”

Carlos Sainz was another who was confused by the decision, as he was stranded behind backmarkers and under pressure from Yuki Tsunoda whilst Verstappen and Hamilton scampered off, whilst Charles Leclerc also put more of a positive spin on things.

“What a crazy end to a crazy chairmanship,” said Charles Leclerc. “Until the last race in the last lap. It’s unbelievable, but I think it is the best that F1 could ask. I’m pleased to see that and congratulation to Max, he has been incredible.”