Jenson Button defends under-fire F1 race director Michael Masi by insisting his conversations with team bosses are common in races… but insists it’s ‘wrong’ that the likes of Christian Horner and Toto Wolff can try to influence his decisions

Former F1 world champion Jenson Button has jumped to the defence of the sport’s under-fire race director Michael Masi, insisting contact between officials and teams should not come as a surprise because it happens frequently. Every team speaks to Michael Masi and puts their point across, they always do. ‘I think after the race the teams can go and talk to Masi but during the race I think it’s wrong. Mercedes and Hamilton were boosted when Masi gave the instruction that the lapped cars would not be allowed to overtake the safety car and rejoin the back of the pack before the end of the race. ‘Why aren’t we getting these lapped cars out of the way?’ ‘Those lapped cars; you don’t need to let them go right the way around and catch up with the back of the pack,’ he informed Masi. Verstappen on his new softer tyres breezed past Hamilton during the final lap, during which point furious Mercedes team boss Wolff was heard shouting down the radio to Masi: ‘Michael, this isn’t right, Michael! Verstappen then went on to claim victory and the world championship and Masi’s role has been under huge scrutiny since.

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