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Verstappen empathises with Hamilton

NEWS STORY
17/12/2021

As seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton is said to be "disillusioned" following last week's events in Abu Dhabi, Mas Verstappen says he empathises with the Briton.

Explaining why he and Lewis Hamilton were to skip Thursday's official prize-giving gala, Toto Wolff admitted that the seven-time world champion was feeling "disillusioned" following the events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which ultimately deprived him of a record eighth title.

"Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment," said the Austrian. "We are not disillusioned with the sport, we love the sport with every bone in our body and we love it because the stopwatch never lies.

"But if we break that fundamental principal of sporting fairness and authenticity of the sport then suddenly the stopwatch doesn't become relevant anymore because we are exposed to random decision-making, that it is clear you may fall out of love with," he added. "That you start to question if all the work you have been putting in, all the sweat, tears and blood, can actually be demonstrated in terms of being the best possible performance on track, because it can be taken away randomly."

Speaking at the prize-giving gala, the world championship trophy now in his possession, at a time Wolff claims that he fears Hamilton could walk away from the sport, Max Verstappen said he understood his rival's disillusionment.

"Of course, I can understand that the first few days after a race like that, you're not happy," said the Dutchman. "But you should also understand, like I have said before, that this is racing and at the end of the day these things can happen to you.

"I think he should just look back at what he has achieved already," he continued. "That should give him a lot of comfort and should also be that drive to just keep on going, because he is still trying to challenge for that eighth title.

"For sure, he can do that again next year," he added. "So I don't see any reason why to give up or stop now."

Again, the Dutchman referred to the events of 2008 at Interlagos when Hamilton denied Felipe Massa the title by passing Timo Glock in the final corner of the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

"I don't feel sorry, but I can understand, of course, that it can be very painful," he said. "But, at the end of the day, that's racing as well. You have to just keep fighting until the end. And you know, that in racing, anything can happen. I mean, he also won a championship like that. So I think he can understand as well."

While Mercedes only announced its intention not to proceed with its appeal of the Abu Dhabi stewards decision just a few hours ahead of the prize-giving gala, Verstappen admits that he was never seriously concerned.

"Not really," he said. "I mean, we were having a really good time as a team as well, because we knew that we won it on track when there was a green light or a green flag. So nobody could ever take that away from us. I was in a good mood."

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