Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing
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Lewis Hamilton was denied a record eighth F1 title earlier this month as he was controversially defeated by Max Verstappen at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Mercedes ace saw his hopes of landing another championship go up in smoke in the final stages of the epic encounter.
Hamilton looked destined for glory as he led the race almost from the start – but the outcome of the desert Grand Prix changed when Williams’ Nicholas Latifi crashed into a wall late on.
A safety car was deployed, with Verstappen deciding to pit for fresh tyres, while Hamilton was forced to stay on the track to keep his position at the front.
Race director Michael Masi initially told lapped drivers they would not be able to overtake but, as the race was about to resume, he gave permission for five cars between the title protagonists to move out of the way and allowed Verstappen to pull level with Hamilton.
That set-up a one-lap shootout, with Verstappen taking full advantage of his new tyres to storm to victory and land his maiden title.
The fallout from the title decider has been immense and former Silver Arrows driver Nico Rosberg has now claimed he felt ‘unbelievable pain’ after the events at the race.
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“I felt pain, incredible pain,” said Rosberg to the Cross Country Rally YouTube channel. “I don’t have anything to do with Mercedes now but, of course, it’s my family from before and an incredible pain.
“They were 99 per cent sure they were going to win the world championship until there were three laps to go.
“After losing it, and losing it in a fight like that, where they couldn’t do anything because the tyres had 50 laps on them – unbelievable pain.
“It’s a shame it ended up like that with a bit of a strange decision by the FIA.”
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Rosberg is a former team-mate of Hamilton, with the duo racing alongside each other for four seasons between 2013 and 2016.
And the German admits the 2021 F1 season proved to be an enthralling affair.
“From the very first moment, we had an amazing year of Formula 1,” Rosberg added.
“It was great fun to watch on TV – the fight between Hamilton and Verstappen was phenomenal. They are the two best drivers in many years.
“Verstappen will be champion many times – the two of them meeting in every race was phenomenal.
“Of course, Formula 1 is in a difficult situation because they fight and do everything on the limit and the FIA also now has to calibrate and adjust.
“They have to do a good job in the winter to improve and make everything more square because we have to avoid situations with doubts.”
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