I really don’t know what else is there to say about the 2021 Formula 1 season that hasn’t been said already.

So there we are.

… Nah, lemme talk about it.

I haven’t discussed anything here since Ricciardo’s win at Monza. That’s felt like a decade ago now. But, life got busy. To get to where we are now, we need to address the moments that built up the tail-end of the season.

While tensions between Lewis Hamitlon and Max Verstappen really did begin to heat with the incident at Silverstone, it was Interlagos which began a blaze of hellfire which trailed through to the bitter end.

Verstappen was in control with great teamwork from Checo and stragey at play, winning Mexico and the US Grand Prix, cementing a firm advantage in the WDC standings.

Then, in my general newsletter (which you can sign up to here), I went into some details as to why it was an astonishing feat from Hamilton to qualify where he did in the sprint race to then take the win, despite all of the penalties he had taken at Brazil. Then of course the internet was in a tizzy figuring out if Verstappen ran Hamilton wide and gained an advantage. The stewards ultimately said that it didn’t require any investigation.

Then Qatar came, and despite Verstappen finishing P2 in qualifying, he failed to respect double-waved yellows which dropped him down to P7. This gave Hamilton a nice, clean cruise to win, with Veratappen coming back to nab a great P2. And Fernando Alonso cementing El Plan to get his first podium since Hungary 2014.

Then we get to Saudi Arabia… and things start to unravell at the seams. Lots of talk was going on about if this new track was really safe. We had accidents galore in the F2 sprint races. And sadly the feature race, which involved a bad crash with Théo Pourchaire and Enzo Fittipaldi. Miracously, both came out fine, with Fittipaldi suffering a broken heel.

Back to F1 qualifying and Max Verstappen was on the qualifying lap of, I would say, the whole season. But, he binned it at the last corner. Disaster and heartbreak. Despite that, it was still a decent P3 start behind the two Mercedes. And the Grand Prix itself was… weird. It actually left me with a bad headache afterwards. The only cure was vegging out, watching Legally Blonde 2. The dominos fell with an accident involving Mick Schumacher. We had a safety car, two red flags, and 4 virtual safety car periods. We even had Red Bull… negotiating (!?) with the race director on what way the driver’s track positions should be on one of the restarts. We had Verstappen getting 2 time penalties: one for gaining a track advantage, and another for slowing down which caused a collision with Lewis Hamilton. Needless to say, the communication was all over the shop. This was more like some weird racing video game tech-demo than an actual real race. But we really didn’t know that the worse was yet to come at that point.

We finally reached the grand finale at Abu Dhabi: Hamilton and Verstappen both on equal points, but the race win advantage was to Max. We were promised the showdown of the decade. The cracks began to show very early on in the race. What we saw previously as a sincere lack of consistency of incident invetigations and ownership of the rules allowed Hamilton to keep his track advantage, having been forced to go wide to avoid a crash with Verstappen. I do genuinely believe Lewis should have given the place back to Max, and I don’t understand how race control saw that Hamilton slowed down enough to not have an advantage. Red Bull were right to gamble with multiple pit stops for better tyres – what could they lose right? Hamilton was leading the race which was both a blessing and a curse: it made it far too risky for him to give up track position for a fresh pair of rubber.

But then a safety car finally hit in the last few laps, due to an accident involving Nicholas Latifi. (As an aside, anyone that was giving Latifi hell for something outside of his cantrol can quite literally go to hell). And then what happened next was… well, you know. F1 race director Michael Masi decided to have a toy around with the rules regarding the restart after the safety car. This caused mass confusion and miscommunication throughout all teams and their drivers. It worked out fantastically for Verstappen – he won. He finally cemented himself as the first Dutch Formula 1 World Champion. A feat so massively deserved. Of course if anyone was given a Hail Mary like that you’d jump to it and take it too.

That said, the bubble just burst for me. And sadly, it wasn’t the epic finale I was hoping for. I felt robbed, honestly. My friend Chain Bear created an excellent video breaking down what rules were concerned for the safety car and the restart. And I sincerely believe, and would have prefered, that we got a red flag. Then, give everyone a fresh pair of tyres. Verstappen and Hamilton would have begun on the front row again doing a standing start. And both could have darted off the line – like sudden death – all the way to the chequered flag. All or nothing on this final lap, both with an equal chance. I really don’t get why Masi couldn’t have seen that was a possibility to end the race on a green flag. Instead we got this stupid perversion of rules where the drivers were promised one thing and then got another. This really was a running theme with the previous few races, and even races before this. Some really weird and somethimes stupid calls made by the race director.

It just didn’t feel right. And it gave me such a headache and huge anxiety to think the integrity of a race like that could have been broken so easily on the spot. I wanted both drivers to have a fair an equal chance. That’s all. It made me fearful of how things could be run for next year. There was so much noise the past week too. The partisan fan base got ugly on both sides. It was no driver’s fault and no team’s fault either. Both Verstappen and Hamilton were world class and both thoroughly deserving of the win. Of course, only one can win, and you can’t blame anyone to take take the chance with the way the cards were handed to them to win. Anyone would do the same. But I certainly don’t want champsionships ending like that in the future. While I understand not wanting to have a finale finishing under a saefty car, I think a far more fairer alternative needs to be considered and implemented for the future. It was just a crying shame.

And that’s my rant about it. But now that it’s been a week, and there promise of investigations into the handling of the stwearding, I have to wish Max Verstappen the biggest congratulations on winning. His tenacity and sheer firey will put him at the very top of the top. Near-unbeatable. Even with some of the bad luck he had this year, he was… heh, simply, simply lovely. Well done.