Abu Dhabi final was correct and “not Hollywood”


The controversial Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi saw some critical voices, but ex-world champion Jackie Stewart is not one of them. The Scot defends the decisions of race director Michael Masi regarding the final safety car phase and says that everything was carried out in an “appropriate manner” and “correctly”.

“It wasn’t Hollywood. It was real, and people like that authenticity,” Stewart told the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com. It was right for him to start the race again – according to him, a red flag or an end behind the safety car was not necessary.

He himself was quite enthusiastic about the end of the season: “There has never been an end like this in the history of the sport,” says Stewart, describing the final as “quite extraordinary”.

And with Max Verstappen there was also the right winner for the Scotsman that Formula 1 needed. Because Mercedes was at the top long enough for him. The Silver Arrows had won every single title for the past seven years, so it was time for a change.

“We just needed a new team that would win. And Red Bull was the only thing that could possibly have done that,” said Stewart. “It’s a great success and Max has ridden very well this year. Lewis will of course be disappointed, but he shouldn’t. He’s had a fantastic season too.”

As a three-time world champion, the 82-year-old naturally knows what winning his first world title feels like. He says that Verstappen has now taken an important step and can now take it easy.

“Once you’ve won a World Cup, you’ve achieved something that you never thought possible. And then you can deal with it more relaxed. At least that’s how it was for me,” he says. “I was able to approach my second and third titles a little more comfortably, and then I stopped immediately. I had decided that beforehand.”

With images from Motorsport Images.

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