Formula 1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel and Lando Norris among others, are still trying to wrap their heads around the "weird" last lap incident at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. FIA race director Michael Masi only allowed five cars to unlap themselves to ensure a final lap showdown between title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Masi's decision saw Verstappen, who was 11 seconds behind Hamilton before the Safety Car intervened, overtake the Mercedes driver on the final lap to win his maiden F1 Drivers' Championship title. Until the final six laps, Hamilton looked to be comfortably cruising to his eighth world championship title.

Mercedes were quick to protest the race director's decision to end the Safety Car period with one and a half laps to go and allow just five cars that were between Verstappen and Hamilton to pass. The Mercedes team's protests were dismissed by the FIA race stewards, awarding Verstappen the title, at least until Mercedes' appeal is heard later this week.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen is the first Dutchman to win the Formula One title KAMRAN JEBREILI/POOL via AFP

Confusion reigned over the paddock in the immediate aftermath of the race, with many drivers questioning the handling of the situation by the FIA. It seemed like the race director wanted to ensure that the title was decided under green flag conditions rather than behind the Safety Car, with Norris claiming that the decision seemed like it was only "made for TV."

"I didn't actually know it was only like the first three or four [five] up to Max," Norris said, as quoted on Autosport. "So it was obviously made to be a fight, it was for the TV of course, it was for the result. Whether or not it was fair is not up to me to decide."

Leclerc, who finished tenth, after his strategy of pitting under the virtual safety car did not pay off said that the situation was very weird. The Ferrari driver was battling Alpine Racing's Esteban Ocon for ninth place when they were suddenly asked to unlap themselves leaving them in the middle of nowhere when the race restarted.

"For me it was a bit weird because I was a bit in the middle of nowhere," Leclerc said. "We could overtake the leaders I think for just like a lap before restarting, and we were in the middle of nowhere."

Lewis Hamilton
Back in business: Lewis Hamilton will race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Giuseppe CACACE/POOL

Ricciardo, on the other hand, was one of the cars that was not allowed to unlap himself before the restart, and felt that it was a fair call from the FIA initially not to allow any car to unlap itself. He believes they should have respected the gap Hamilton had built during the course of the race over Verstappen rather than give all the advantage back to his former team.

"I was confused because I got that message that they won't overtake," said Ricciardo. "Through my head I thought, 'That seems okay,' like I guess, fair, because Lewis had such a lead and Max has newer tyres, in this way he has to cut through a few cars if they're going to restart the race."

"So I've literally got front row seats for the last lap. And I'm also on a new soft, or a newer soft, so I was like, 'Do I pass both of them?' Nah, just kidding'," he added. "I'm honestly a bit speechless, I don't know what to make of that. I really don't. I need to see how it all came about."

Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo earned McLaren their first Formula One win since 2012 at the Italian GP on Sunday LARS BARON/POOL