A petition calling for Sir Lewis Hamilton to be declared the 2021 Formula 1 world champion has now reached 55,000 signatures.
The petition was launched shortly after the highly controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw Max Verstappen snatch the F1 crown away from Hamilton on the last lap following a contentious decision by race director Michael Masi.
Specifically, after initially decreeing that no lapped cars would be allowed to un-lap themselves ahead of the restart, Masi gave the five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen the greenlight to overtake the Safety Car.
This meant that the Red Bull driver was right behind Hamilton for the restart, and with the Dutchman being on a set of fresh soft-compound tyres, he was able to overtake the seven-time World Champion on the final lap of the 2021 season to win his maiden F1 crown.
Hamilton was quick to suggest that the race had been “manipulated”, while Mercedes expressed their dissatisfaction with the Safety Car restart and lodged a protest.
This protest was rejected by the FIA, prompting Mercedes to file an intention to appeal the race and championship result.
They later announced that they wouldn’t be going ahead with their appeal and instead vowed to hold the FIA accountable via an investigation into what transpired in Abu Dhabi.
“[We] appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced,” the Mercedes F1 Team said in a statement on 16 December.
“Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1.
“We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.
“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 – for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do.
“We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal,” they added.
However, many Hamilton fans are evidently not willing to let the matter go quite so easily, with thousands of new signatures being added to the aforementioned petition every day.