“No, absolutely never in my life” – Sir Jackie Stewart in awe of the extraordinary 2021 title battle ensued between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton
“No, absolutely never in my life” – Three-time season winner Sir Jackie Stewart admits he has never witnessed a more incredible title battle than the 2021 one between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
The 2021 season was extraordinary in many more ways than one, with an unprecedented finale played out between then and now reigning champions Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
The title got decided in the final lap of the season at Abu Dhabi, the FIA Race Director Michael Masi playing a crucial role with his decision-making.
Masi expectedly received backlash and scrutiny from the losing camp of Hamilton, with Mercedes unsuccessfully complaining Verstappen’s maiden title victory.
I don’t know why since the Abu Dhabi GP, people act like it’s part of Michael Masi’s role to produce entertainment. He’s there to police and enforce the rules, and ensure track safety – whether that means application of the rules form a ‘spectacle’ or not, and he did neither.
— Stefan (@stefxnrhys) December 25, 2021
But, despite this, Sir Jackie Stewart – champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973 – believes the FIA did the correct thing, with no intention of converting the race into a two-hour popcorn flick.
“I think it was handled in the right way. It was done correctly, there was no film business in this.
“This was not Hollywood, this was pure and the public enjoy that authenticity. Never in the history of the sport has there been such a lock.
“Never in the history of Formula 1 has there been such a denouement as this year. This was extraordinarily special. It has been a great year anyway with two teams pushing each other to the limit.
“This year has been a great success and Max Verstappen has also performed exceptionally as an individual. Lewis Hamilton will be extremely disappointed, but he shouldn’t be at all. He too has completed a great season.”