Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button discuss Michael Masi after Verstappen beats Hamilton in Abu Dhabi

Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button defend Michael Masi after Max Verstappen beats Lewis Hamilton

Red Bull ace Max Verstappen won his first Formula 1 World Championship after beating British legend Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - but the result was not without controversy. 

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff ripped into race director Michael Masi after a controversial call ruined Hamilton's chances of winning a historic eighth F1 world title.

Despite starting the race in second place on the grid, the Englishman managed to open up an incredible 11-second lead over the Dutchman before a safety car came out after Nicholas Latifi crashed into the barriers. 

Masi, 42, had stated that lapped cars wouldn't be allowed to overtake the race leaders, but he quickly changed his mind, which set up a nail-biting finish between Hamilton and Verstappen.

Hamilton appeared to be only one lap away from certain victory, only for his hopes and dreams to vanish in a puff of smoke as Verstappen sailed on by in a streaking blur of blue, red and yellow.  

After the race Wolff, 49 - who has been in charge of Mercedes since 2013 - raged: "You need to reinstate that lap before, that’s not right!"

But former drivers Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button have expressed their sympathy for Masi as they feel he just wanted to allowed them to continue racing when the race resumed after debris was cleared from the track. 

Max Verstappen has beaten Lewis Hamilton to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

"Yeah because first they said they're not allowed to unlap themselves, then they changed their message once they saw the track was safe to do so," Rosberg told Sky Sports

"But the thing is in the written document it says 'all cars will be required to unlap themselves' but they only let those five cars that were between Lewis and Verstappen unlap themselves.

"That's where Mercedes are asking if it's OK or not. But I guess in the end Michael Masi can decide what he wants, he's the race director."

Max Verstappen pictured with his dad Jos Verstappen

"We were saying before today weren't we, Michael Masi, you wouldn't want to be him this weekend," Button added.

"It definitely went Max's way only letting those five cars past but then earlier in the race it kind of went Lewis' way.

"Michael Masi wants to get them racing, he doesn't want to decide the world championship, so it's a really tricky one, but we saw a race."

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Rosberg interjected: "Can I change my mind on that as well actually?

"I said that it was good what they did in the incident at the beginning of the race, but actually there it went Lewis' way, and I think he should have let him passed. 

"So it's really 1-1 in terms of the fundamental decisions during the race."

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