Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen: New Sky documentary recaps 2021 drama and delivers fresh claims
Watch Duel: Hamilton vs Verstappen On Demand now; Two-part documentary, also available on Sky Showcase and Sky Documentaries, focuses on Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen's remarkable 2021 title battle
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 06/03/22 6:58pm
Toto Wolff has claimed in Sky's must-watch new F1 documentary that Michael Masi was "turned" by Red Bull at the end of last season and that a "bromance" helped Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the title.
Duel: Hamilton vs Verstappen is a new original Sky Sports documentary telling the definitive story of the astonishing championship fight between Hamilton and Verstappen, featuring exclusive interviews with those at the centre of the epic battles, drama and huge controversy that shaped 2021.
The two-part documentary is now available On Demand, while it will also be on Sky Showcase and Sky Documentaries from Monday, March 7.
In it, Mercedes boss Wolff cuts a frustrated and still deeply hurt figure still processing Hamilton's contentious defeat to Verstappen, which he says was all because of the "wrong decisions" from race director Masi and that he was "turned" by Red Bull - pointing to both the Abu Dhabi GP finale and the penultimate race in Saudi Arabia as examples.
- Verstappen signs new deal to 2028 | Red Bull: 'Best driver in F1'
- Q&A on F1 Testing and new season with Ted Kravitz
- What we learned from the first F1 test
Masi, who has since been dropped by the FIA, made a 'deal' with Red Bull's sporting director Jonathan Wheatley over restart grid positions in Saudi Arabia, before appearing to change his mind over Safety Car rules amid Red Bull protestations in Abu Dhabi.
Wolff describes Masi and Wheatley's relationship as a "bromance" and says: "Jonathan Wheatley has done his job.
"He's turned Michael Masi the race director, not only in Abu Dhabi but before, and probably Max owes him a lot."
On Masi, Wolff, who has since said he wishes to "move on" from 2021, adds: "I haven't spoken to him and I don't want to speak to him ever again."
With Masi now having been replaced following an inquiry into Abu Dhabi - which has also brought an officiating restructure - Wolff admits the Australian was a "victim".
"His decisions were wrong and I'm sure that he regrets them," he states. "The FIA should have seen much earlier that there was a problem. There was a problem with the structure. There was a problem of personalities."
Verstappen ultimately won the title after overtaking Hamilton on the final lap, aided by Masi's decision which led to the Dutchman being on fresh soft tyres and Hamilton being on old hards. As Wolff says: "It's like a football game that is 1-0 for one team and suddenly the referee says, 'now it's golden goal. 0-0, whoever scores the next goal wins'.
"'And by the way, we have to play without boots.'"
Wolff concludes about Verstappen's triumph: "I feel for Max.
"He merits the world championship... but there's only talk about Abu Dhabi."
Verstappen and Horner reflect on 2021 drama
Duel: Hamilton vs Verstappen also includes exclusive interviews with Verstappen and his Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who have consistently stated they deserved the championship thanks to a superb season.
Verstappen talks through his career and some of the intense battles with Hamilton through the year, as well as his racing style.
"Sometimes I have to take risks and try to dive up the inside or try to force a move," explains Verstappen. "But, at the end of the day, that's my style and that's how I've won more races than I've lost."
And the Red Bull pair also have their say on that Abu Dhabi controversy.
On Masi's handling of the Safety Car and allowing there to be one more racing lap, Horner insists: "He didn't break the rules.
"He perhaps applied the rules slightly differently in that circumstance but there was nothing he did that actually contravened the rules."
Horner also says Masi needed more support, saying the race director was the subject of "bullying and online abuse" after the title finale.
Verstappen similarly sympathises with Masi, who has been replaced by two race directors for 2021.
"You can always argue was it right, was it wrong, what he did in Abu Dhabi," says Verstappen.
"But I think what Michael stood for was always racing.
"I think it's very harsh what they did to him and they really put him into the ground."
Watch Duel: Hamilton vs Verstappen On Demand now; Two-part documentary also available on Sky Showcase and Sky Documentaries