Former F1 champion Damon Hill has claimed moves the FIA 'let go unpunished' left the likes of Lewis Hamilton 'uncertain' with regard to the rules of on-track conduct.
On the opening lap of the controversial season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Max Verstappen made a bold lunge on leader Hamilton, leaving the seven-time champion to dash across the run-off.
Despite Verstappen getting the nose of his Red Bull ahead, Hamilton was not ordered to hand back the position as FIA race director Michael Masi ruled no lasting advantage had been gained as the Mercedes driver had slowed to allow the gap to close back up.
Questioning this logic on the F1 Nation podcast, Hill said: “The one that Max did on Lewis on lap one where he dived down the inside, took a long, massive Daniel Ricciardo-style lunge from miles back, Lewis allowed that to happen but he’s perhaps got in him mind being taken out by Max.
"So he’s thinking ‘Crikey! He’s going for it. I’m going to have to slightly open the door’ and Max put his wheels right down there on the inside.
“Lewis took evasive action and had no track left to play with and had to take to the escape road.
“That was a bold move but it was a move that has come on the back of a number of moves like that, that have gone unpunished or they’ve let it go so the drivers are unsure as to whether or not this is going to be the way to race or not.
“The doubt is the thing that has given us all these difficulties. It has given us uncertainty."
Across the season, there are examples where the move would have been punished for forcing another driver off the track but equally, there are others that suggested Hamilton should have been ordered to drop behind the Red Bull driver.
"Lewis had to take the evasive action but actually, you look at that pass and it was a clean pass," added Hill.
“Actually, he was ahead, so I didn’t understand when Lewis got back on the track why he didn’t give the place back because, in a sense really, Max had got the place.
“He didn’t gain a lasting advantage on that one, that is what they said. But he kind of did, because he didn’t get overtaken when in fact he had been overtaken.”
After the suggestion was raised that gravel would have solved numerous problems across the course of the year, Hill quipped: “I’m going to take out shares in a gravel quarry somewhere!”