Max Verstappen fix calls continue as Christian Horner thanks Nicholas Latifi
Red Bull team principle Christian Horner has promised Williams' driver Nicholas Latifi a lifetime supply of Red Bull and 'thanked' the Williams racer after he incidentally played a part in Max Verstappen becoming F1 World Champion.
The Canadian-Iranian-Italian racing driver crashed out of the Abu Dhabi GP with just five laps remaining after losing grip on the surface, with the position of the car forcing safety measures to be deployed.
The 26-year-old, who was thankfully okay after hitting the barriers on lap 54, inadvertently allowed Red Bull to change to a fresh set of tyres and then catch Lewis Hamilton after some lapped cars were permitted to move up the field.
When asked about the impact Latifi had in Verstappen ending the dominance of Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton, Horner was in jubilant mood.
Horner said: "I have to say, thank you to Nicholas Latifi."
Before telling Sky Sports: "He'll be getting a lifetime supply of Red Bull for sure!"
Having said of the closing stages: "It was going to need something from the racing gods.
"The stewards, we felt hard done by [after first lap incident] but they did a great to get the race going again. Credit to Lewis, he’s been phenomenal and that makes the victory even more more valid."
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Before adding of the lapped cars controversy: "It’s unheard of to leave the cars un-lapped.
"They made absolutely the right call. It’s difficult fo the stewards, we all were putting pressure on them, but they absolutely called it right.
"I’ve lost my voice because I was screaming from turn 5. Max got the job done and then Lewis was coming back on the straight, but you just knew Max was not going to give it up.
"The last 10 laps I was thinking what to say to Max, to the guys, to the team, and then we got that slice of luck with the safety car."
Fans were upset about the ending to the race with many calling it a 'fix.'
Mercedes have now launched two official protests, one concerning Verstappen overtaking Hamilton under safety car conditions just before the restart, and another concerning an alleged incorrect use of safety car procedures under the guidance of Race director Michael Masi.
The first protest read: "Protest by Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team against Car 33, alleged breach of Article 48.8 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations."
The second read: "Protest by Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team against the classification established at the end of the Competition, alleged breach of Article 48.12 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations."
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