Hamilton beat Verstappen to the 2021 F1 championship, according to Puma

Sir Lewis Hamilton suffered heartbreak at last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Max Verstappen won the title under controversial circumstances.

Sports brand Puma have called Sir Lewis Hamilton an eight-time world champion in a Mercedes poster on the window of one of their stores in Prague.

Hamilton was cruelly denied his eighth world title at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last season when a controversial decision by now former race director Michael Masi led to a final lap overtake from Max Verstappen.

There were five lapped cars between the pair when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams late on, and Masi has initially declared that none of them would be allowed through due to time constraints.

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However, after some interesting conversations with Red Bull’s Jonathan Wheatley and Christian Horner, he allowed only five of them to pass ahead of the final tour of the circuit.

Verstappen had pitted for fresh Softs while Mercedes left the 37-year-old on track as they did not want to risk track position so late on, and the Dutchman was able to use his fresher rubber to pass Hamilton at the very last.

In the weeks after the incident, Hamilton fans demanded that the FIA investigate the events, and there was even a petition to have Verstappen stripped of his title in favour of the Briton, but the FIA’s report concluded that the result is “valid, final and cannot now be changed.”

This has not stopped people believing, at least in their hearts and minds, that Hamilton is the champion of last season, and the same evidently goes for the Puma store in the Czech Republic.

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At the bottom of a poster promoting Mercedes Formula 1 merchandise, they titled Hamilton an “8-time FIA Formula One Drivers’ Champion.”

Whether it was merely a typo or a dig at the FIA remains to be seen but, officially, Verstappen is the reigning world champion having won 10 races and finished on the podium 18 times throughout an incredible 2021 season.