Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko feels Lewis Hamilton's behaviour in the aftermath of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix led to Michael Masi getting sacked. He feels the Mercedes driver needs to take partial responsibility, as his actions certainly played a part in the FIA's decision.

Initially, Hamilton accused Masi of manipulating the race result by allowing Verstappen to close in under the safety car. Following the race, the British seven-time world champion disappeared from public view with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff suggesting that his driver was disillusioned with the sport.

The Silver Arrows demanded action with the narrative that Hamilton's future depended on the FIA decision. The governing body initiated an inquiry into Masi's controversial call, and finally decided to relieve the Australian of his duties as the race director going into the 2022 season.

Max Verstappen was quick to jump to Masi's defence during the pre-season test in Barcelona. The Dutch racer insisted that the Australian was "thrown under the bus" by the FIA. Marko has now joined the bandwagon and put part of the blame on Hamilton for forcing the governing body's hand.

Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen won an epic season-long battle with reigning champion Lewis Hamilton ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP

"By his silence, he only wanted to show his dissatisfaction with the situation and the decisions," Marko said, as quoted on Planet F1. "Part of that behaviour subsequently also led to Masi being removed from his role."

"I don't think it's right. You have to look at his performances over the years. If Masi had everything they are going to enter now at his disposal, it would have been easier for him to decide, a video referee and an advisor by his side."

Marko also insisted that he was certain Hamilton was never close to leaving the sport. The Austrian is certain that if the Briton had informed Mercedes of his uncertainty, there would have been movement in the driver market well before the first pre-season test that was held in February.

"There were clear indications that Hamilton would not stop because there was no movement in the driver market," Marko added. "If Hamilton had informed Mercedes that he would take a step back, they would have started looking for a replacement en masse. However, that was not the case."

Hamilton is currently contracted to the Mercedes team until 2023. However, he is set to become the joint-highest paid driver on the grid going into the new season after Verstappen penned a new deal worth £40 million per season.

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