Lewis Hamilton feels Abu Dhabi GP was 'manipulated' after dramatic loss to Max Verstappen
When Lewis was only a short distance away from the chequered flag he felt that the game had been manipulated
Even though Lewis Hamilton remained silent during and after the last lap of Formula 1's GP at Abu Dhabi, he made one comment which has taken everyone aback. When Lewis was only a short distance away from the chequered flag he felt that the game had been manipulated.
When Hamilton was four corners away from the chequered flags, he realized that he would not be able to re-pass Max Verstappen and claim his eighth world championship. Having realized this, he shouted, "This has been manipulated, man." Even though the comment was not broadcast on the world feed, it could be heard on Hamilton's onboard channel on F1 TV.
During the safety car period, the conversation with Hamilton mainly focused on his frustration with how slow-paced the safety cars were while Nicholas Latifi's crashed car was being retrieved. During the penultimate lap, engineer Peter Bonnington informed home that the race director Michael Masi would let the lapped cars between the leader and second-placed Verstappen go past him.
Peter also said, "Safety car in this lap, just prepare your tyres, you'll have to overtake for each of the straight, one lap to run." When the green flag flew and Verstappen successfully passed, Lewis did not make any comments. However, he made the manipulated remark just before the end of the final lap.
Immediately after he crossed the line, Bonnington said, "I am just speechless Lewis, absolutely speechless." Hamilton did not reply and nothing was spoken until Bonnington reminded him that it was too late and that he was supposed to park on the grid.
After Lewis stopped at the parc ferme, he sat in his car for two minutes to gather his thoughts before alighting. The situation was similar to what happened in Baku. In Baku, Lewis stayed in the car in silence for several minutes after the last-lap mistake.
In Abu Dhabi, he spoke to TV interviewer Jenson Button for a few minutes after which he was not seen in the official FIA press conference and TV interview pen. Further, his team boss Toto Wolff did not speak to the media even after the decision by Mercedes to protest was made later in the day. When asked, he told Motorsport.com "I don't want to say anything" and left.
The lockdown at Mercedes will continue until the team considers its options and notifies the authorities at FIA of its intention to appeal against the rejection of its protest regarding the restart procedure. The team has been given 96 hours to decide what they want to do next.
Hamilton, the runner-up of the game, will appear and speak to the media at the FIA prizegiving gala in Paris on Thursday.