NASCAR driver Kyle Larson says the finish in Formula One’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix that made Max Verstappen champion was “particularly unfair,” but he still respects how hard Verstappen works.
The “2018 f1 standings” is the current standing of all the drivers in Formula One. Max Verstappen won the championship last year, but Kyle Larson says that it was not “particularly fair.”
THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, ABU DHABI — Kyle Larson, the NASCAR champion, raced in his first Formula One race in the season finale, and he is as divided as everyone over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix’s controversial finish.
Max Verstappen won the race by passing Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap on Sunday, but the chaos has continued. After a late accident erased Hamilton’s almost 12-second lead, Verstappen stopped under yellow for new tires, and the race was resumed with one lap to go. Verstappen won the race and the championship after passing Hamilton in the fifth turn in a NASCAR-style shootout.
“The racing fan in me was thinking, ‘Man, I hope there was a caution so this thing could become interesting towards the finish and provide some drama,’” Larson told The Associated Press. “Then something occurred. ‘Well, I don’t know whether it was especially fair,’ I said.”
The race had been a bit of a flop following F1’s fantastic season, with Hamilton leading 51 of the 58 laps. Larson and his party had already exited the track when the yellow flag flashed with five laps to go, despite the fact that the seven-time champion seemed to be in complete control. They were able to see the finale on the Yas Marina Circuit’s viewing screens as well as on their phones.
After the race, Mercedes submitted two objections on Hamilton’s behalf, both of which were rejected. Mercedes has now petitioned the International Court of Appeal to hear the matter.
Larson stated, “It seems like they violated the rules a little bit to obtain a green finish, and that appears to be their major purpose.” “I don’t know much about Formula One, but it doesn’t seem like they changed it to benefit Max or anything. They did, however, make it exciting.”
Larson and Verstappen had comparable seasons in that they both won a series-high ten races, led the most laps, and won their first championships after late cautions and tire pit stops. Larson needed a late yellow at Phoenix Raceway in November to get back into contention, and his Hendrick Motorsports team made the season’s quickest pit stop to bring him back on track in the lead. Larson won the race by leading the last 28 laps.
He’s since been honored at NASCAR’s season-ending championship celebration, won three dirt races, and traveled to the Middle East to represent NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, and HendrickCars.com, the online sales arm that sponsored him when he returned from a nearly season-long suspension for using a racial slur this year. Larson has recently inked a full season sponsorship deal with HendrickCars.com that runs through 2023, as well as a two-year extension with Hendrick.
“It seems that they violated the rules a little to attain a green ending, and that appears to be their primary purpose. I don’t know much about Formula One, but it doesn’t seem like they did it to benefit Max [Verstappen] or anything. They did, however, make it exciting.”
Kyle Larson celebrates his victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Larson ran into Fernando Alonso before even entering the gate in Abu Dhabi, then Sergio Perez as soon as he reached the paddock. Alpine reserve driver Daniil Kvyat recognized Larson right away after attending his first NASCAR race the week before the Cup Series title in Virginia.
Kvyat said, “I want to go NASCAR racing!”
Larson has been pondering how he might get into Formula One. “I should have packed my helmet,” Larson told Haas boss Guenther Steiner after Nikita Mazepin tested positive for COVID-19 before Sunday’s race and Haas fielded just one vehicle.
“Watch how fast I can make anything happen,” Steiner joked as he went for his phone.
Larson, like practically every other American racing car driver, lacks the FIA super license required to participate in Formula One and has no clue how to get one.
Larson was taken aback when IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward recognized him and knew about his NASCAR season before taking the time to drive him around the circuit in a McLaren 720S. On Sunday, the papaya orange McLaren screamed around the 3.2-mile track.
“Riding in the passenger seat is a whole different experience. You simply feel like you’re being tossed about all of the time “Larson said. “I never had a chance to concentrate on the track or figure out how the turns felt. I wish I could have done three or five laps in a row so I could have gotten used to being in the passenger seat. He performed an excellent job. I would have tried just as hard to slide the vehicle all over the place if I had been in the driver’s seat and he was in the passenger seat.”
He also lamented not having more time to chat with O’Ward, who was a contender for the IndyCar title last season and completed his maiden Formula One test on Tuesday.
“I wanted to spend out with him so I could question him about his career path. How is he going to make it to Formula One as an IndyCar driver?” Larson remarked. “‘Is this part of his path?’ I wonder as he gives me a ride-along. I was just interested in hearing his narrative.”
Larson stated he’d want to go to his next Formula One race as a spectator, rather than as a NASCAR champion with a VIP card, to soak up the experience. His normal experiences have been restricted to tourist-type activities across Dubai while he was on vacation until Friday.
He saw the Burj Khalifa building and the Dubai Mall, was planning a trip to Expo 2020, and went on a camel ride, sandboarding, and seeing a fire display in the desert. Even though the voyage into the desert over the dunes didn’t go down so well with the greatest contemporary dirt driver, it’s a terrific time to be a NASCAR champion.
“I didn’t care for the dunes,” Larson stated. “I became quite ill. I wasn’t ill, but I was really nauseous in the third row. There will be no more of it for me.”
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