Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2021

Mercedes gave “absolutely everything” in championship defeat – Hamilton

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes gave “absolutely everything” in pursuit of the world drivers’ championship in 2021 after Max Verstappen denied him on the final lap of the season.

In a stunning conclusion to the race and the season, Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the last lap of the race to snatch the win and the world championship from the Mercedes driver.

In controversial scenes, the race was restarted following a Safety Car period with a single lap to go. FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi initially informed teams that cars a lap down would not be allowed to regain the lead lap. However afterwards he opted to allow a group of lapped cars to overtake on the penultimate lap and immediately restarted the race.

“This is getting manipulated, man!” Hamilton told race engineer Peter Bonnington over team radio after had passed him on the track.

Mercedes later lodged two separate protests under articles 48.8 and 48.12 of the sporting regulations. They are challenging the classification of the race and protesting Verstappen for overtaking Hamilton during the Safety Car period.

Speaking immediately after the race, Hamilton congratulated his rival on becoming world champion.

“Firstly a big congratulations to Max and to his team,” said Hamilton.

“I think we did an amazing job this year. My team, everyone back at the factory, all the men and women we have and here have worked so hard this whole year. It’s been the most difficult of seasons and I’m so proud of them and so grateful to be a part of the journey with them.”

While Mercedes secured the constructors’ championship, Hamilton said the team had tried “everything” to help him win his eighth drivers’ title.

“We gave it everything,” he said. “This last part of the season, we gave it absolutely everything and we never gave up – that’s the most important thing.

“Of course I’ve been feeling great in the car this past couple of months – particularly at the end. If I’m honest, we’re still in the pandemic and I just wish for everyone to stay safe and have a good Christmas with all their families and we’ll see about next year.”

In the immediate aftermath of the race Hamilton spoke only to

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

69 comments on “Mercedes gave “absolutely everything” in championship defeat – Hamilton”

  1. Mercedes rightfully won the constructors championship, on account of them having the best car throughout the season, even before the mid-season rule changes that all happened to favour Mercedes.

    1. So not so rightfully.

      1. They did a good job as team that why they got the constructors title and came back from behind. If the championship was only 21 or 22 it was already over. Lewis car went like a locomotive faster and faster.
        Lewis got 100% from the car that is why he is so good.

    2. Which mid season rule change ?

      1. 1. Tyres changed spec since Silverstone, ever since Mercedes has been WAY better with tyres than any other team.
        2. Rear wing rule changes, making Red Bull have to scrap their rear wings to comply with the new rules having to run their skinny wing where they didn’t want to for 2 races (while Mercedes’ front wings keep flexing much more than any rear wing ever did)
        3. Pitstop rules changed to Mercedes ‘safe’ pitstop concept, which removed Red Bull advantage in the pitlane and gave Mercedes the edge in the pitlane for 4-5 races

      2. I think he is referring to the introduction of a stiffer compounds mid-season.

  2. Gabriel Martins
    12th December 2021, 16:25

    A shame this championship is going to be decided in race control because of Masis’s incompetence…

  3. This injustice will be costly for F1 and FIA. They should correct their mistake asap. This felt so wrong and a fix by the FIA.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      12th December 2021, 17:18

      The fix is get them back on track with the lapped cars in the train and then green flag it with a lap left. Unfortunately that’s not possible so any other solution (other than voiding the race) is unfair.

      1. well theyre there for the post season test anyways. why not line ham and max up tomorrow for a 3 lap shootout.
        bring whatever you got for tires and engines and start side by side on the same line. winner take all.

    2. The damage has already been done.

  4. Ham fans: this is a farce, Ham deserved the win
    Do you notice Ham would have won only and only thanks to the big Bottas crash, and without that he would have lost before this race, do you?

    1. You said the win not the championship. Do you think max deserved this race win?

      1. Of course. He did a clean pass on track. Helped by his faster tire, but that was decided by Mercedes strategy.
        Looking at the season it was karma for all the undeserved point losses max endured.
        The first time he got luck on his side.

        1. but that was decided by Mercedes strategy.

          Forced, I would add, by Checo’s superb defence, wich closed the window for a pitstop. They could have restarted with new tyres but they would have lost the position

          Felt sorry that Checo could not share the podium. A big chunk of Max’s victory was his.
          He has dropped the ball a few too many times this season, but otherwise has been a great wingman to Max.

        2. So this karma thing you trot out. Is it the same karma that gave Ham 7 titles and over a hundred wins and poles?

          1. gifted, not gave

      2. I meant the championship win, do you think Max deserved to lose just due to a bowling?

        1. Max drove better this championship. But he does not deserve this race win. Masi breached the rules he was put in play to uphold, and in doing so he offered max an excellent opportunity to win. if the rules were followed I would agree with you.

          1. If ruled were followed at lap 1 lewis had to give position back, or not?

    2. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 16:44

      Seasons aare full of if’s and but’s… If max had retired ham would have won already! But where are where we are, and from over here it looks like a whole load of mess.

      Hamilton and Mercedes would have taken the same line had it been handed to him like that, make no mistake, but that doesn’t make it at all right.

    3. I’m not a Ham fan and I still think he was robbed with the lapped cars decision right before the restart. Also, the weaving on the straight from Max was surely illegal, wasn’t it?

    4. equally do you know ham wouldve won had he not gifted max in baku via brake magic?

  5. That wasn’t a race as much as it was a robbery.

  6. It’s hard to loose. And the very inconsistent stewarding does not help.
    But both claims are rubbish.
    Max never passed Lewis during the sc. He never passed the front of Lewis car.
    The second claim has some merit and should be cause for concern or transparancy at fia but does not change the outcome.
    Without sc Lewis would have won with a lot quicker car and excellent start.
    With sc, the choice Mercedes strategy made decided the outcome.
    It’s good it wad a Mercedes driven car that caused the sc. I already know the flak in this forum when it was caused by a Honda powered car.
    BTW, great performance by Tsunoda with his 4e place.
    The recording with a totally relaxed bottas jumping in the pool, showed he is glad to leave Mercedes.

    1. The call made by Mercedes not to pit Hamilton was based on the rules. They didn’t pit Hamilton becaue they believed there would not be enough laps left if those rules were followed.

      1. Why? Why argue with erik? Its a fruitless exercise.

    2. Erikje, standing his ground in the lions den. Keep at it mate

    3. It can be hard to accept when your favourite driver wins that not everything should have happened the way it did. Looking at the replays on Sky Germany, Max was clearly ahead of Lewis behind the safety car twice, if only momentarily. Whether that is enough to warrant a penalty is questionable, but technically it infringed the rules.

      The second claim was inevitable, as F1 has brought itself into disrepute by not implementing its own rules. It’s hard to see how that didn’t affect the race result – if it had been implemented with all cars unlapped themselves, the race would have finished behind the safety car. If it had been implemented with no cars unlapping themselves, Hamilton would almost have certainly had just enough breathing space to get away. A red flag would have been less controversial, even if not strictly necessary.

      Either way, irrespective of who you support, an unwelcome and controversial end to the season that reflects badly on F1 as a sport, though Liberty may not care if it brings more social media chat and viewers.

      1. If Liberty doesn’t care so long as they get numbers then they have an enormous problem heading their way fast. “any publicity is good publicity” isn’t true and always leads to bad things.

      2. It reflects badly on the sport only for those of us that have been around long enough: My timelines are full with support and amazement of such a great F1 season from people that just a few months ago did not know what an F1 was besides their keyboards.
        We’re, of course, the minority.

  7. Max only won today because of the FIA. He was completely dominated. This wasn’t a close race. There have been many races where Max was the superior driver, and worthy winner. This wasn’t one of them.

    The fact that most F1 drivers are very uneasy by how it finished speaks volumes. This isn’t a Mercedes v RB issue. It’s about the integrity of the sport being nuked to oblivion for the sake of artificial drama.

    1. This isn’t a Mercedes v RB issue. It’s about the integrity of the sport being nuked to oblivion for the sake of artificial drama.

      Couldn’t agree more. Anyone talking about who deserved what, or Mercedez strategy calls or whatever are completely missing the point. Masi broke the rules.

      No one is talking about how the 3 cars that weren’t allowed to unlap themselves think about this…they raced under different rules today and their teams should be furious. Masi has forgotten he is supposed to run the race for the whole field.

    2. Totally agree. Only the cars between Lewis and Max unlapped themselves. And then they gave minimal notice that they safety car was coming in. Normally its half a lap or so.
      The protest will do nothing. The FIA wont overrule the stewards because theyll lose massive credibility if they do. So we have a tainted championship.

    3. He was completely dominated

      Watch the last lap. Completely dominated. By Max.

      Then go cry somewhere else

      1. Yes completely dominated by someone on new tyres against someone on 50 lap old tyres.
        Hilarious that you think that is something to boast about. Yes I’’m crying with laughter.

  8. Once again publicly “great win Max” privately “Toto take it away from him” whine.

    1. Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team its bigger than Lewis Hamilton. Not only Lewis loses from this result. Whether Lewis cares to protest or not, it is not up to him.

  9. Just one point to add.

    On that last lap, i feel Hamilton should have stayed on the inside, and forced verstappen to drive around him for the over take. I don’t think Verstappen would have made the corner without driving wide, and then you might have seen the redbull penalised for an unfair advantage, or driving into Hamilton.

    When Hamilton came back at Verstappen he was ofcourse forced to the outside by Max, who kept that inside track.

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 16:47

      Can I add that Max should have been several cars back?

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        12th December 2021, 17:20

        Or would they have dived out of his way considering the situation? We don’t know.

    2. I agree but car positioning must be much more easier on fresh soft tyres than on very old hards. There was little he could have done. Verstappen could have pick the place where he wanted the move to be done. He could have waited for turn 6, or possibly even for turn 8.

    3. Maybe you should ask Lewis if he still needs driving tips from keyboard warriors like yourself.
      Ifs… Never won a race.

    4. Hamilton is a fair racer (as many who’ve raced against him will attest).

      1. Yes quite true…unless he loses of course.

      2. Naught Neutral
        12th December 2021, 18:08

        I think that is up for debate. I think they’re both may drivers, Hamilton is just much better in hiding it.

    5. Hamilton’s only chance in that situation was to try and levy his top speed as he had no grip for late braking or cornering, so he needed to take the corner as normally as possible. Sadly didn’t work.

  10. The pulling alongside / in front under the safety car query is a non starter, Bottas completely overtook in Saudi Arabia and held it for a corner, it happens all the time, just usually people don’t care. Cars often accelerate to heat the rears and momentarily overtake the car ahead.

    The letting lapped cars past though I think is genuine query, I’m just not sure why they’re bothering with the first.

    1. I think Verstappen is safe in the “SC pass” issue. He was alongside, not sure if he ever went ahead of Hamilton. But on the other hand, what you describe are situation behind SC, while this time around SC was already gone and Hamilton dictated the pace (he was the SC) and Verstappen should not have tried what he did there.

      He may be formally reprimanded for that, but very likely that will settle this issue.

      1. Maybe a analysis of the telemetric will show, Lewis took off and dropped off shortly before he took of for a second and defining time.
        So he behaved illegal, once speed up the race is on.

        1. Masi, is this you?

          1. Please dont feed erik

  11. I’m still thinking about the end of the race and what could potentially be done in order to have a fair sport and not a sensation driven show. The best option for me is:

    – ban all the communication from the teams to the race directory. They should only talk on the initiative of the race director, because the mayhem this communication causes is simply unbearable.

    1. Agreed, and most of the directives from race director to team could be on the “email” system, further adding to transparency (not necessarily even public, but at least available to all teams and accredited journalists).

    2. @pironitheprovocateur Unfortunately there is no easy fix. Organizing an event with so many people involved is a challenge at the best of time, and this is the top level of motorsport (at least in terms of money spent by the competitors) so everything is more on edge, there is more incentive to fudge the rules and there is a worldwide audience numbering in the dozens of millions.

      That said, the race director does need to be more of a boss of the event. Not some guy the teams feel at liberty to talk to as if they’re colleagues (or worse: sarcastically, like with Mercedes and with Alpine earlier on). F1 is rich enough to hire dedicated assistants to watch every single car throughout all sessions. There should be no need for the teams to report incidents to the race director on their own initiative.

      1. But then we will miss the totally hysterical toto screaming at Masi.
        That will be a pity.

        1. Everyone screams at Masi. Masi is clueless.

  12. F1 should leave the result fixing to WWE, I for one wont be making time for F1 next season, if Iam in and its on I’ll watch, but never again planning my weekend around it. This is the second time Lewis has been shafted by the FIA after the cool fuel BMW’s in 2007.

  13. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    12th December 2021, 17:11

    Liberty thought it would add to the show.

    Instructions ought to be one way that the race director gives instructions to the team.

  14. So that was the long censored message broadcast.

    F1 didn’t want the secret out.

  15. Would have rather they crashed and Max won than this.

  16. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    12th December 2021, 18:46

    F1 is over.

  17. Jerry Thompson
    12th December 2021, 19:50

    This was Hamilton’s last chance for championship because his team mate next year will be a very fast and talented Russell who has shown his ability for championship in MB. Unless MB sits on Russell and makes him into a Bottas wingman, Russell will be the one fighting Max next year.

    1. That’s going to be one narrow gap Russell fits in given where Ham and Max generally are in relation to each other on track lately.
      Seems next year Russell is gonna be blitzing Ham, but somehow only enough to fight Max?

  18. I got the sense, from the tone Lewis used in the interview after the race when answering Jenson about next season, that we’re not guaranteed to see him racing f1 next year.

    1. Hope springs eternal

  19. Why Hamilton didn’t choose the inside line for that final lap. He knew if he leaves the door open Max will enter and he did. Lewis almost had in the bag but he forgot that lock from the door.
    Yes he might have had a worse run out of that corner but Lewis should have known that you always have to close the door with Max.

  20. In short they cheated in every way, but still defeated by the faster man.

Comments are closed.