Therefore, the 24-year-old could get on the British driver’s tail before overtaking him in a one-lap shootout, benefiting from driving on fresher tyres to become the new F1 world champion.
There were still more cars that should have been able to unlap themselves, according to the rules.
If these rules had been followed, then the race would likely have finished behind a safety car as it was the final lap, and as Hamilton was in the lead, he would have been crowned champion.
Masi’s decision-making cost Hamilton a record eighth F1 world championship and was sacked as a result. He was replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who will alternate in the role. Hamilton will be glad to know that the latter has been described as ‘strict’ on rules after last season’s controversial finale.
Racing driver Giedo van der Garde, who has competed in series that Freitas has judged in, told GPFans NL: “Freitas? He’s a good race director. I have known him for a few years. He is a strict guy, rules are rules with him. If you don’t follow them, with him you just get a penalty!”