By JEROME PUGMIRE
AP Auto Racing Writer
Formula One champion Max Verstappen has defended Michael Masi. Verstappen says F1′s much criticized former race director was “thrown under the bus” after last season’s dramatic finale. Masi was replaced last week following controversy at the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December. Verstappen won his first world title by overtaking defending champion Lewis Hamilton on the last lap after Masi ordered a restart. Verstappen says “it was very unfair what happened to Michael … to immediately sack him is not the right decision.” Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso also expressed sympathy for Masi.