Max Verstappen fires back at Lewis Hamilton over Abu Dhabi heartbreak

Lewis Hamilton missed out on his record breaking eighth world championship in controversial circumstances last season.

The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will go down in history as one of the most controversial races of all time, as Max Verstappen snatched the championship from Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the race.

With the two drivers heading into the final race of the season level on points, Hamilton was doing all he had to do by leading Verstappen in the race, until the final lap brought controversy.

Nicholas Latifi triggered a late safety car, and while Hamilton stayed out on track, Red Bull pitted Verstappen for a fresh set of soft tyres to end the race.

The Grand Prix looked set to finish under the safety car until race director Michael Masi, who has since been sacked, made the decision to allows only the cars between the championship rivals to unlap themselves, allowing time for one final lap of racing to decide the title.

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With the fresh soft tyres, Verstappen easily passed Hamilton to claim his maiden title, and the Dutchman has now admitted that he empathises with the Mercedes driver, but urges him to look at one of his previous triumphs.

“Of course [I have sympathy for Hamilton], it was all looking great but then something like that happens. It is tough,” explained the 25-year-old.

“The only thing I would say to myself at the time was ‘He has seven world championships and he has also won wone where it looked like he was losing out and then in the last corner, he didn’t.

“So I hope he could understand there is a difference in emotion but yeah, I felt for him.”

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Verstappen is referring to the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, where Felipe Massa looked to have secured his first world championship victory by winning the race, only for Hamilton to overtake a slow moving Timo Glock on the final corner of the race to secure the extra points he needed to become champion for the first time in his career.

Massa obviously was heartbroken by the race end, while Glock received death threats from fans who doubted the legitimacy of his mechanical failure which handed the title to Hamilton.

In a recent interview with Glock, Hamilton admits that he wishes he was more aware of the hate the German was receiving at the time, and regrets not being there for him during that difficult period of his life.