82% of F1 fans believe Abu Dhabi GP wasn’t rigged against Hamilton

Sir Lewis Hamilton was defeated by Max Verstappen at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following a controversial Safety Car restart.

82 percent of Formula 1 fans believe that the 2021 season finale was not rigged against seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton, according to a poll by Formula1News.co.uk.

Over 4,000 readers took part in the poll, which asked “Do you think the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was rigged against Sir Lewis Hamilton?”, with the majority of them replying “no.”

Just 18 percent of the sample believe that the 2021 curtain-closer was indeed “rigged” against the Mercedes driver, who himself suggested in the dying stages of the race that the event had been “manipulated” by race control.

Why was the Abu Dhabi GP controversial?

The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will go down as one of the most controversial Formula 1 season finales of all-time.

Max Verstappen qualified on pole position, but Hamilton was able to overtake the Red Bull at the start.

Barring a lunge by Verstappen on the opening lap, the seven-time world champion didn’t look under threat and was able to build up a comfortable advantage to the Dutchman, despite his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez costing him eight seconds.

However, a late Safety Car was deployed following Nicholas Latifi crashing his Williams in sector three.

This gave Verstappen a free pit-stop, while Hamilton was ordered not to pit as his Mercedes team feared they would lose track position if they called him in.

READ: Ecclestone: It’s a problem there aren’t any Raikkonens in Formula 1 today

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Race director Michael Masi initially ruled that none of the lapped cars would be allowed to un-lap themselves ahead of the Safety Car restart, due to time constraints.

However, he then allowed only the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to un-lap themselves, putting Verstappen right on the back of his championship rival.

On much fresher and grippier tyres, the Dutchman was able to overtake Hamilton on the very last lap to win the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and secure his maiden F1 crown.

Mercedes quickly protested the race result, but this was denied by the stewards in the UAE capital.

The Silver Arrows then lodged an intention to appeal, but they withdrew this following the FIA announcing it would be launching an investigation into the events that occurred in the season finale.

READ: Hamilton ‘keeping pressure firmly’ on FIA investigation

Sergio Perez defends against Lewis Hamilton in 2021 Abu Dhabi GP.v1

It has been reported, however, that Mercedes withdrew their appeal in a “quid pro quo” that will see race director Michael Masi sacked before the start of the 2022 season.

Mercedes have reportedly denied the existence of this deal with the FIA.

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