Lewis Hamilton now has ‘proof’ he was ‘robbed’ at 2021 Abu Dhabi GP

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton lost out on his eighth world championship in a controversial last lap shootout with Max Verstappen.

The ending of the 2021 Formula 1 season remains a sore point for Lewis Hamilton, as it saw him lose out on a record-breaking eighth world championship at the very last moment.

Having fought closely with Max Verstappen all season, it came down to a last lap race to the finish following then-race director Michael Masi’s decision to go against the usual safety car protocol.

With Hamilton on old hard tyres and Verstappen on fresh softs, the Brit tried valiantly but, ultimately, in vain, to hold the Dutchman off, with Verstappen claiming his first world title.

If Masi had followed the correct procedure, the race would have ended behind the safety car, giving Hamilton a moment of glory that has never been seen before in Formula 1.

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After a chaotic end to the Australian Grand Prix, which finished with drivers being led to the finish line by the safety car, former Formula 1 team manager Peter Windsor has claimed that’s what “we should have got in Abu Dhabi in 2021.”

“I didn’t see any Australian fans – and they’re pretty vociferous at the best of times – complaining or booing saying, ‘no, we want this race to finish as a proper one-lap race, this is terrible.

“They were all cheering and clapping – exactly as I said they would have in Abu Dhabi ’21 if they’d finished it behind the Safety Car, as they should have done, and Lewis had been cruising round to win his eighth World title. 

“That, to me, was absolute proof – again – of what went wrong in Abu Dhabi and I still feel very hot under the collar about that as well.

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“I still think it’s rotten that they completely blew that and Lewis Hamilton was robbed of that eighth title in that one incident. 

Of course, you don’t win or lose a Championship in one race. What I’m talking about is the decision that was taken.

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“And nobody cared at all [in Melbourne]. The Australians just loved that Safety Car, they were all cheering,” he added. 

As the incident unfolded in 2021, Hamilton complained over his team radio that the result was being “manipulated” to deny him the title.

Red Bull have argued that the result was fair and it was right to decide the title with a final lap race, despite the different tyre compounds the drivers found themselves on giving Verstappen a clear advantage.