The weekend of the Qatar Grand Prix gave a Lewis Hamilton his seventh win of the season, bringing the Englishman eight points away from the top of the standings, still occupied by Max Verstappen. With two GPs to go before the end of the World Championship, the Mercedes driver remains the master of his own destiny. Two successes in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi would in fact automatically lead the native of Stevenage to the eighth world title of his career. But the Losail weekend was also fraught with controversy and tension, both between the two teams competing for the title and between Hamilton and Verstappen themselves.
The duel on the track in Brazil was still the background to the arrows between the two riders, with Verstappen not being penalized for having taken his opponent off the track while he was trying to overtake outside. In the briefing with Michael Masi all pilots asked for clarification in this regard. In several, even in front of the media, they complained of a disparity of judgment by the commissioners during the season compared to apparently similar episodes. Hamilton himself had pointed the finger at the lack of coherence on the part of the Stewards and the lack of clarity on the part of Masi in outlining which maneuvers are allowed and which are not in the duel phase.
The Australian Race Director, however, responded to the seven-time world champion, underlining instead that there is, in his opinion, great clarity on the rules of engagement. “I think it has been made clear to them what is expected – said Masi, speaking with the site RacingNews365.com – I think some of them agree and some don’t. It is always like this with each of them, they have been in agreement or disagreement the whole time. We have given them general guidance – concluded Masi – but we were also very clear that each individual case will be judged in a specific way “.