The injustice of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix may have been two seasons ago, but the pain felt by Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will certainly take a long while to go away.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen entered the final round of the 2021 season level on points, meaning the season finale was a straight shootout for the title.
The seven-time world champion streaked clear of his Dutch rival in the early stages of the race and despite some heroic defending from Sergio Perez, Verstappen was just unable to catch Hamilton.
Just when a record breaking eighth world championship looked to be wrapped up for Hamilton, Nicholas Latifi crashed out of the race and triggered a late safety car.
While Verstappen pitted for soft tyres, Hamilton stayed out for track positon and it looked as if the race would finished under the safety car as there was not time for all of the lapped drivers to unlap themselves.
Controversially, race director Michael Masi only made the cars between the two championship rivals unlap themselves, leaving time for a single racing lap where Verstappen easily overtook Hamilton on his fresh soft tyres.
In a recent interview with The Times, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff fired a fresh shot at Masi, suggesting that the race result was completely unfair.
“It was tough after Abu Dhabi. I have always liked the principle that the stopwatch never lies. The team that wins is the one that deserves to be champion,” began the Austrian.
“But this was different. At the end of the race, an individual took decision that were not reflected anywhere in the rule book and were so drastic that they made the outcome unbelievable.
“That is a moment when you fall out of love with the sport. The principle of fairness was breached.
“The FIA took the guy out of the job because it was a human error. But it’s done and dusted now. I still think about it a lot, but not with anger; it is just incomprehensible how it came about.”
Michael Masi was quickly sacked by the FIA following the controversial race but it has been rumoured in recent weeks that he could make a sensational return to the sport.
Reports have suggested that after some time away, Masi would be open to a Formula 1 return, but it is highly likely that Wolff and Mercedes would block this move should it ever come to fruition.