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Toto Wolff Explains the Polarizing Effects Max Verstappen’s Controversial Abu Dhabi Win in 2021 Had Among Fans

Vidit Dhawan

Toto Wolff Explains the Polarizing Effects Max Verstappen's Controversial Abu Dhabi Win in 2021 Had Among Fans

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has recently revealed an interesting incident that transpired shortly after the 2021 Abu Dhabi fiasco. He explained how a nanny had approached him for a job, fearing that she would not be hired because of being Dutch and liking Max Verstappen.

Speaking of the fear that the nanny had, Wolff told De Telegraaf in a recent conversation, “I asked why (she was afraid of not getting the job). She thought I hated Max Verstappen. But I really like Max”.

Considering how their conversation panned out, it is fair to say that the fallout of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP was perhaps one of the most polarizing events that even fans were forced to take sides. Despite what transpired then, Wolff has seemingly moved on and now has nothing but respect for the Dutchman.

Toto Wolff holds Max Verstappen in high regard

In the same conversation with the De Telegraaf, Toto Wolff explained how Max Verstappen has moved from strength to strength. The 51-year-old explained stated that the Red Bull driver has now become the ‘benchmark‘ because of the way he has been able to maximize the package given to him by his team.

Wolff also believes that Verstappen has ‘matured’ greatly in recent times and has that champion mentality that the likes of Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton possess. The Mercedes team principal then concluded his remarks by stating how he enjoys working with such people as it’s they who have the ambition to reach the top.

What happened at the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP?

The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has arguably been one of the most controversial, chaotic and exciting F1 races of all time. This was the race that decided one of the closest championship battles between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Both drivers arrived at the season finale in Abu Dhabi level on points, meaning that it was winner takes all. Considering how most of the race had panned out, fans around the world were convinced that barring a miracle, it was Hamilton that would go on to win the race and win a record eighth F1 title.

However, the miracle did take place after Nicholas Latifi crashed into the barriers. As a result, race control brought out a safety car with just a few laps remaining in the race. While Hamilton was still in the lead at this point from second-place Verstappen, he had lost all his advantage because of the safety car.

And to make things worse, some controversial decisions from then-race director Michael Masi turned the race completely in the Dutchman’s favor. Masi had initially stated that all lapped cars would be allowed to overtake the race leader before changing his decision shortly after.

He eventually decided to allow only the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves to ensure that there was a one-lap spectacle between the two. And this controversial decision from Masi helped Verstappen to get straight on the back of Hamilton on the final lap and overtake him shortly after to win the race and his maiden championship.

About the author

Vidit Dhawan

Vidit Dhawan


Vidit Dhawan is the F1 writer and Editor at The SportsRush. He fell in love with the sport at first sight when F1 visited India in 2011. The noise and the racing action from lights out and away we go to the chequered flag are what keeps him at the edge of his seat at all times. Vidit has been a lifelong Fernando Alonso fan and sees Charles Leclerc as the future of the sport. Other than F1, he also follows football and tennis closely.

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