‘I know why’: Lewis Hamilton claims Michael Masi deliberately favoured Max Verstappen

Sir Lewis Hamilton has opened up the heartbreak he suffered at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After remaining silent on the controversial 2021 season finale, Sir Lewis Hamilton has finally spoken about what was going through his head during the final laps of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In an extensive interview with Vanity Fair, Hamilton spoke all about the final laps of the race at the Yas Marina Circuit, where race director at the time, Michael Masi failed to follow the rule book.

Following a safety car to recover Nicholas Latifi’s crashed Williams, Masi only allowed the lapped drivers between Hamilton and title rival Max Verstappen to un-lap themselves.

The race also got back underway on the following lap.

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With Hamilton on old Hard tyres, and Verstappen on Softs, the Dutchman overtook the seven-time World Champion on the final lap of the race.

This saw Verstappen claim the 2021 World Championship; however, the title remains to be tainted by how his title victory came about.

Had the rules been followed, then all the lapped drivers should’ve been allowed to un-lap themselves, not a select few.

As well as this, an additional lap should’ve been completed behind the safety car, which in this case would’ve seen the race finish behind it, with Hamilton claiming victory and an unprecedented eighth World Title.

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Hamilton explained to Vanity Fair that his “worst fears came alive” at Abu Dhabi, and how he sat in his car post-race in total “disbelief”.

“You see things start to unfold and my worst fears came alive,” Hamilton said.

“I was like, there’s no way they’re going to cheat me out of this. There’s no way. That won’t happen. Surely not.

“I don’t know if I can really put into words the feeling that I had. I do remember just sitting there just in disbelief. And realising I’ve got to undo my belts, I’ve got to get out of there, I’ve got to climb out of this thing, I’ve got to find the strength.

“I had no strength. And it was one of the toughest moments, I would say, that I’ve had in a long, long time.

“I knew what had happened. I knew what decisions had been made and why. Yes, I knew that something wasn’t right.”

In 2022 Hamilton has had to watch Verstappen storm away in the Drivers’ Championship, with Mercedes currently being the third best team on the grid, unknown territory for them.

With Hamilton having finished towards the bottom of the points at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and outside the points at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, people began to question whether the Mercedes driver would retire from F1.

However, Mercedes have turned a much-needed corner, with Hamilton having finished on the podium at five consecutive races.

READ: Mercedes came close to signing Sebastian Vettel instead of Lewis Hamilton

The Brit is “still loving driving” and is even considering extending his current deal beyond 2023, as he continues his search for an eighth World Championship.

“I’ll be lying if I said that I hadn’t thought about extending,” Hamilton said.

“I’m still on the mission, I’m still loving driving, I’m still being challenged by it. So I don’t really feel like I have to give it up anytime soon.”