Hamilton on the ghosts of Abu Dhabi: “A wrong decision from somebody…”

Lewis Hamilton has opened up on struggling to “believe that the sport would do something like that” after the notorious 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG

Hamilton was denied an all-time record eighth F1 championship last year when race director Michael Masi’s incorrect interpretation of the Safety Car rule allowed Max Verstappen, on fresher tyres, to pass him and claim the title.

Verstappen’s 2022 championship has been won amid the F1 cost cap scandal - Red Bull are still awaiting their penalty for breaching the 2021 budget cap.

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“You buried it and moved on," Hamilton told BBC about the cost cap row bringing back memories of the ill-fated 2021 finale. 

“And then it comes back up and it's like another bit of a kick. So then [it was a case of] just getting back into the phase of just suppressing it and moving forwards."

Hamilton had threatened to quit F1 in the wake of last year’s season finale.

He now says: "Was I ever truly not going to come back?

"I am not one to give up like that.

Race winner and World Champion Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium alongside second placed Lewis
Race winner and World Champion Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing…

"What really was breaking was to just believe that the sport would do something like that. That that would happen, given that there are so many people you rely on. You expect that the job would be done right.

"An outcome of a world championship which so many people have worked so hard for would come out through a wrong decision from somebody, you know?

"That was probably the only thing. It wasn't for my lack of love for working with my team or racing cars.

"If you can lose a championship through wrongdoing within an organisation, that was the thing that I wondered whether…

"I spent time with my family and that was really the best part of the healing. That enabled me to really recover, really bounce back.”

Hamilton is sixth in the F1 standings heading into the F1 Mexico City Grand Prix this weekend.

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