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Hamilton: The race has been manipulated

NEWS STORY
13/12/2021

In the aftermath of the controversial call on lapped cars, Lewis Hamilton told his engineer, Pete 'Bono' Bonnington he thought the race had been manipulated.

During the safety car period that followed Nicholas Latifi's crash, Hamilton was told that the five cars separating him and second placed Max Verstappen would not be allowed to overtake the safety car and un-lap themselves.

However, race control then gave the all-clear for the cars, Norris, Alonso, Ocon, Vettel and Leclerc, to pass the safety car, thereby giving Verstappen a clear run on the Mercedes.

"Safety car in this lap, just prepare your tyres," warned Bonnington, "you'll have overtake for each of the straights, one lap to run."

Alongside Hamilton for those final few corners before the restart, Verstappen was unable to get close to the Mercedes on the run to Turn 1 but ultimately passed the world champion heading into Turn 5. In a thrilling battle the Briton almost reclaimed the lead courtesy of a tow from the Red Bull on the run to Turn 9 but it was not to be.

"I'm just speechless Lewis, absolutely speechless," said Bonnington.

"The race has been manipulated, man!" sighed Hamilton.

Driving into the pitlane and parc ferme rather than parking on track for the trackside interviews, while he attended the interview with Jenson Button, Hamilton did not attend the official FIA press conference or meet with the media in the media pen.

While Toto Wolff also opted not to meet the media, the team even failed to issue its usual post-session press release.

Mercedes is now considering whether to formally lodge an appeal following the stewards decision to dismiss its protest at the safety car incident.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Yas Marina, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Stitch431, 14/12/2021 5:06

"Ah, like the one a week before where Lewis did not get punished for any wrongdoing, where Max was the only one to get punishment in a racing incident where both of them were at fault. By whom? Ah, by Lewis-fan Gary Connely."

Rating: Negative (-3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by flyinglap, 13/12/2021 19:12

"I have read all the articles and have been reading all the comments since yesterday evening, and all sides seem to have merit, albeit influenced by one's sympathies. My own impression is that we got a fitting ending to a long, hard-fought season for better or for worse. In the end, Mercedes won the Constructors Championship (which matters most from a financial point of view) while Verstappen won the Drivers Championship (a huge achievement all things considered). Notwithstanding a series of decisions b ythe FIA (as represented by Michael Masi), both during this last race and during the entire season, which at times have served the interests of one team rather than the other, the fact remains that in this last race Mercedes made twice the wrong call by keeping Hamilton out on the same old hard tyres. The first time they got lucky because Verstappen on the medium tyre was still unable to catch Hamilton. The second time they were just inexcusable. When you employ a seven times world champion, arguably one of the the greatest if not the greatest driver in the sport, you simply cannot negate him the chance to exploit his extraordinary talent and ability to win the race on pure merit, and instead try to win by strategizing and lobbying the race director, pathetically suggesting "do this" or pleading "please don't do that". I sincerely feel for Sir Lewis, he could have won this fair and square on the soft tyres, but he only has his own team to blame and deep down he knows it. Hopefully, Mercedes will learn from this and they will become a little bit more humble in the future. This is the drivers world championship after all. It is not the pitwalls world championship, which Mr Wolff and his strategy team seem to forget most of the time. Better luck next year, and never mind about protesting, trying to overturn the result etc. Just let it be."

Rating: Positive (7)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Scotiagold, 13/12/2021 17:24

"How about when LH went completely off track and maintained his lead? Kinda worked out in the end.
With millions of $ at stake I understand Mercs protest."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by kdxrider, 13/12/2021 16:53

"Isn't there betting allowed on the races ? I wonder how that is going down ---"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by F1nerd, 13/12/2021 16:28

"Just a load of sour grapes from Mercedes who think they have been hard done by because their boy didn't get his 8th title. best thing would be for him to leave F1 and concentrate on his fashion show."

Rating: Negative (-2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by NEEDFORSPEED, 13/12/2021 16:16

"I wonder if this was just to equal out the sh*t show that we call the British Grand Prix of this year. People remember when Lewis put Max in a hospital and went on to win the race and only got a 10 second penalty. What about the race when Botas knocked out both red Bulls. The points that red bull lost in both of those races would have given him them constructors championship to. Seemed a very obvious to me That the steward wanted Mercedes to close in on the red Bulls who were leading in the championships. stop whining"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Wokingchap, 13/12/2021 15:08

"Beaten Last Minute"

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Redphyve, 13/12/2021 14:31

"@Kenji

Is that all you see?

After the absolute farce of a safety period with all that's happened....that's what caught your eye.



"

Rating: Positive (7)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by Pavlo, 13/12/2021 12:46

"@kenji - there were precedents of drivers failing to bring the car in front of the podium, be it for technical issues or misunderstanding. Never penalized, and really not worth a question.
Lewis did give pre-podium interview and participated on podium procedure. Decision to skip FIA press-conference is understandable and should be accepted.
I didn't hear these words during the (Austrian) broadcast, but given situation I think it's wrong to broadcast or publish here. It was clearly devastating and sensitive moment for the driver, who should be given a minute of privacy.
We heard what he said afterwards and I have huge respect to him for that.
I also heard that he asked Mercedes to recall the protests. This is a behavior of a champion."

Rating: Positive (8)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by Hobgoblin, 13/12/2021 12:42

"it seems that these are more guidance now than rules, so why should he care?"

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11. Posted by ian_w, 13/12/2021 12:31

"@kenji, not Jenkins; damn auto-correct."

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12. Posted by ian_w, 13/12/2021 12:29

"@Jenkins, it would seem to be a violation of what's a very specific reason FIA Post-Race procedure - https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/decision-document/2021%20Abu%20Dhabi%20Grand%20Prix%20-%20Race%20Directors%20Note%20-%20Post%20Race%20Procedure.pdf

Perhaps they'll be dragged in front of the stewards. For good measure, kick Max's tyre on the way by."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

13. Posted by kenji, 13/12/2021 12:08

"Is failing to front for the interviews in front of the podium an offence under race protocol?"

Rating: Negative (-4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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