Michael Masi reveals ‘bubble’ after Lewis Hamilton fans abused him

Michael Masi was sacked from his role as F1 race director following his controversial decision making at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a race that was meant to go down in history as one of the best of all time, as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen entered the season finale level on points in their battle for the championship.

A victory for Verstappen would have brought him his first ever title, while a win for Hamilton would see him break Michael Schumacher’s record and become the greatest of all time with eight championships.

Hamilton built up a comfortable lead over the course of the Grand Prix, despite heroic efforts from Sergio Perez to hold up the 37-year-old, and looked set to take the checkered flag in first place.

The Brit’s world turn upside down when Nicholas Latifi crashed and caused a late safety car and while he stayed out on track to keep his lead, Verstappen pitted for soft tyres in the hopes of a restart.

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The race looked set to finish under the safety car, as there were not enough laps left for the race order of lapped cars to be restored, until race director Michael Masi controversially allowed only the lapped cars between the championship contenders to overtake the safety car, allowing time for one final racing lap.

On the soft tyres, Verstappen easily overtook Hamilton and clinched his maiden championship victory in highly controversial circumstances, which saw Masi sacked in the aftermath of the Grand Prix.

Masi has now opened up on the abuse that he received after the race, as Hamilton fans and others who disagreed with his decision making took to social media to threaten and abuse the race director.

“I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” claimed Masi.

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“Not even family and friends. I only talked to my close family but very briefly.

“It did have a physical impact, but it was more mental. I just wanted to be in a bubble. I had no desire to talk to them. I just wanted to be alone, which was very challenging.

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“The whole experience has made me a much stronger person.”

It has recently been rumoured that Masi could eventually make a return to Formula 1, having recently taken up a role in Australian motorsport following a period away from sport.

While the 44-year-old would reportedly be open to returning to F1 after the controversy of his final race, it is most likely that the move would be blocked by Toto Wolff and Mercedes, who were understandably outraged by the outcome in Abu Dhabi.