Toto Wolff has admitted that Max Verstappen deserved to win the 2021 World Championship.
Verstappen went head to head with Wolff’s driver, Sir Lewis Hamilton, in one of the greatest battles Formula 1 has ever seen last year.
It ended with the two drivers heading into the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi level on points, and the last chapter of the title fight proved to be every bit as dramatic as all of the previous ones.
With Hamilton leading and looking set to win, Verstappen was thrown a lifeline when Nicholas Latifi crashed and brought out a Safety Car, allowing the Dutchman to pit for fresh tyres.
It still seemed as if he would miss out on the title though with a number of backmarkers standing between him and his title rival ahead of the restart, after which he’d have only one lap to try and pass the Mercedes driver.
However, race director Michael Masi then broke with standard protocol by ordering those backmarkers but no others to unlap themselves. This ensured that racing conditions would be restored before the end and that Verstappen would be directly behind Hamilton at the restart.
The Red Bull driver overtook the Brit on the final lap to become the World Champion, and the controversial manner in which he did so infuriated many, including Mercedes team principal Wolff.
The Austrian admits that he still thinks about it every day, but has acknowledged that Verstappen deserved the title.
“I think about it every day,” he told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.
“But I accepted that Max won the championship, because he is a champion who deserves what he got.”
Wolff does maintain though that what happened was entirely unfair.
“As it turned out, look, I think I have important values like fairness, and in particular sporting fairness, and that’s what gave birth to my love of sport,” he added.
“Unfortunately, on that particular day, this value was kicked down.”
The chain of events ultimately cost Masi his job as the sport’s Race Director, and he has since left the FIA altogether.
Verstappen meanwhile looks set to win the title again this year while Hamilton hasn’t been able to fight him for it again with Mercedes failing to produce a car capable of challenging the Red Bull and the Ferrari.