A breathless and chaotic climax to the Formula One season which saw Lewis Hamilton pipped to the championship title left viewers angry and confused.
With Hamilton effectively needing to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to take the crown ahead of Max Verstappen, he held a comfortable lead over his rival in the late stages of the race.
But a crash saw the safety car sent out, ultimately ensuring the title came down to one lap of racing with Hamilton’s lead erased – and Verstappen overtook the British driver to claim his first title.
Among those watching was TV presenter Piers Morgan, who tweeted: “I don’t know what I’ve just watched but it can’t be right. Hamilton’s been robbed, surely? #F1”
Actor and Marvel star Gemma Chan tweeted: “Utterly absurd. #AbuDhabiGP”
Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker tweeted: “What a joke. That stinks”, while Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit and husband of tennis superstar Serena Williams, said: “CONGRATULATIONS, SAFETY CAR.”
Money-saving expert Martin Lewis compared the race to goings-on at Westminster.
He tweeted: “That was incredible. Doesn’t seem fair.
“@LewisHamilton will feel robbed, so far ahead, then penalised due to the safety car and seemingly arbitrary decisions (feels a bit like politics right now) Unbelievable. #formule1”
Verstappen’s job was made easier by the fact race director Michael Masi allowed lapped cars to pass the safety car which gave the Red Bull driver a clear run at Hamilton.
With the race – the culmination of what has been widely seen as the best F1 season in years – shown on Channel 4, many of those watching were not hardcore fans of the sport, which only added to the general sense of confusion.
Pointless star Richard Osman tweeted: “Welcome to #F1, newcomers. I would say it’s not always like that, but it pretty much always is.
“As much going on off the track as on the track. What a season, great from Max, and a classy reaction from Lewis.
“Next season should be fairly tasty eh?”
Osman was one of many commending Hamilton for his response to the defeat in his post-race interview.
Morgan described him as “incredibly gracious” and Lineker said Hamilton was “very special” and a “class act to the end”.
Jeremy Clarkson tweeted: “Very very dignified from @LewisHamilton”