Ex-F1 champion tells Hamilton fans to ‘put the pitchforks down’

The ex-F1 world champion has told fans of Sir Lewis Hamilton that nothing will change the outcome of last year's Drivers' Championship.

1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill has reiterated his point that fans of Sir Lewis Hamilton need to move past the Briton’s 2021 championship defeat at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

A controversial Safety Car restart by race director Michael Masi – in which he allowed a limited number of lapped runners through due to time constraints – aided Max Verstappen’s last lap overtake to claim his maiden world title.

Immediately after the race, Hamilton offered his rival his congratulations but has since been eerily silent, leading many within the world of Formula 1 to believe that the 37-year-old is considering his future in the pinnacle of motorsport.

Hill has previously told Hamilton fans “get over” the Mercedes driver’s heartache during a Twitter spat, and he has now elaborated on that point.

“For clarity, my point is this. There is nothing that will change the result,” he explained.

READ: Abu Dhabi controversy: Hill tells Hamilton fans to ‘get over it’

The 61-year-old concedes that the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was wrong, and requested that fans cease attacking him on social media for something over which he had no control.

Lewis Hamilton retirement rumours continue to grow.v1

“It was enormously damaging for F1 and for Lewis, but it’s done. We cannot turn the clock back. And it wasn’t my fault, ok? So put the pitchforks down, please,” he added.

Fellow former drivers Perry McCarthy and Stefan Johansson have recently suggested that the controversy of last month may drive fans away from the sport, but Hill has poured water over these fears.

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“All the people who say they have lost faith in F1, they’ll be back,” he affirmed.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has previously stated that the seven-time world champion is “disillusioned” with Formula 1 following his cruel last lap championship loss, and has not been able to guarantee his driver’s presence on the track in 2022.

However, he praised Hamilton’s ability to perennially perform despite adversity.

“No matter what obstacle has been put in Lewis’ way, he’s known all his life that he has to do his speaking on the track,” he said.

“Mind you, it’s incredibly difficult for him until he finds the path for him between right and wrong. He just needs time.”

The Austrian confirmed that he will meet with the 37-year-old by the end of next month to discuss the Briton’s future in the sport.

“At the latest, we will meet again in February, and it will not be to drink tequila. I had enough of that in Abu Dhabi,” Wolff joked.

READ: Abu Dhabi controversy: McLaren CEO says some rules are ‘not acceptable’

The Austrian is willing to concede that Verstappen was deserving of his success after 10 wins and 18 podiums last year, but he maintains that Hamilton was wronged.

“He will never forget what happened in Abu Dhabi, because what happened to Lewis was a mistake. He was unbeatable on that day, until the officials blew a fuse and decided to commit several infringements,” he explained.

“It is difficult to understand and something that will always stay with us. Max was a worthy champion throughout the season, but on that day Lewis was better and he did not win.”

Verstappen and Hill – among others – have affirmed their desire for Hamilton to return to the F1 grid in 2022 and once again chase after his record-breaking eighth crown.

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