In a controversial move, Lewis Hamilton is accusing Formula 1 and its FIA of having “manipulated” the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
In fact, Hamilton called apparent shenanigans already during the final lap of the showdown, when he could be heard declaring manipulation over his radio shortly after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passed him on the track.
The suspicion emanated from the crash by Nicolas Latifi of his Williams on lap 53 of 58. Ordinarily, this would have mean a conclusion of the race under the safety car. But according to Mercedes, this situation had been used by race director Michael Masi in such a way that purposefully positioned Verstappen directly behind Hamilton ahead of the final-lap breakaway.
While Mercedes on Sunday night raised two separate protests, both had been rejected by race officials. They now have until Thursday to decide whether to appeal against those decisions.
Verstappen has in the meantime conceded to the possibility of certain “changes” to be made by the FIA following Sunday’s outcome. Clearly unphased by this, he said he and the Red Bull team did nothing wrong – and only ever raced when the “light was green”.
The 24-year-old Dutchman also paid tribute to his world-champion rival, saying how he had been impressed by Hamilton’s incredible sense of sportsmanship. He added that while the pair had had a couple of tough times throughout the season, he respected the Brit and had greatly enjoyed racing against him.
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