Hamilton “did everything right” in title-deciding race – Verstappen

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen paid tribute to rival Lewis Hamilton after his victory in the world championship-deciding race yesterday.

The Red Bull driver passed Hamilton on the final lap of the race to take the win and secure the title. The outcome of the race remains in dispute, however, as Mercedes have indicated they may appeal after losing a protest against the result.

The race swung on a late Safety Car restart, which gave Verstappen the opportunity to attack Hamilton while on fresher tyres. Hamilton had controlled the race until that point, Verstappen acknowledged.

“Of course there was one side incredibly happy and one side was disappointed,” he told media including RaceFans on the day after his win.

“I felt for Lewis,” Verstappen admitted, “he did everything right throughout the whole race.

“But F1 can be very unpredictable and, of course, it can go either way. It could have been the other way around as well where I would be controlling the race and then I would lose it in the last lap. That’s unfortunately part of racing.”

“Lewis is a great sportsman,” he added. “But like I said it’s racing and we all have to deal with it, if it’s positive or negative, but he will come back again, very strong because he is an amazing driver.”

Verstappen said he was unsurprised by Mercedes’ protest following yesterday’s race, which left doubt over the result.

“It’s quite typical looking at the season that it happened,” he said. “It is what it is.

“We were still happy and enjoying and we as a team didn’t do anything wrong. We raced and there was a green light, green flag so we went for it and we did it on-track. So that, for us at the time was alright, we were just enjoying.”

While it remains to be seen whether Mercedes will press ahead with its plan to appeal, assuming Verstappen’s victory is upheld he intends to switch to using the world champion’s number one on his car next year.

“I will run it,” he said. “How many times can you do that? I don’t know, maybe it’s the only time I can in my life. I think it’s the best number out there so I will definitely put it on the car.”

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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77 comments on “Hamilton “did everything right” in title-deciding race – Verstappen”

  1. Humble of max not to speak of the turn 6 incident on lap one

    1. Or perhaps he looked back at it and realised it was a very late move and had Hamilton turned in both their races would have been over. It was easy for Brundle to say Hamilton left the door open but when you’ve nearly been taken out by desperate lunges in 3 of the last 4 races by the same driver I think it’s not unreasonable to be cautious for that driver. I doubt many drivers would have supported any complaints about that incident if it had proven decisive.

      Instead of rehashing arguments and negativity why not just focus on the fact that it’s a nice message for Verstappen to put out. I think both drivers behaved extremely well this weekend and the current circumstances are neither of their faults.

      1. @slowmo Easy for Brundle to say anything. To drive in Formula 1 at the level of Max or Lewis, now that is difficult.

        1. Brundle has taken on the likes of Senna and beaten him and been teammates with GOAT Schumacher so his views are as valid as anyones!

          1. He was absolutely smashed by Schumi, so I think it’s pretty clear he isn’t near the level of either Max or Lewis.

      2. If Lewis is to win an 8th title, and has to fight Max for it, then he should really go for the inside of the corner every time. Otherwise Max will pull off this desperate move each and every time. I hope Lewis and others (Charles, Carlos, George, Lando, Daniel, Fernando, whoever has a chance of fighting for wins next year) develop strategies to counteract Max’s kamikaze moves.
        I mean Lewis did it back to Max in Jeddah to prove a point, and if I’m not mistaken Max and Christian immediately cried over the radio about Lewis’ move. (Which was just a typical Max move)

        P.S. Good for Max to have a world championship, he was always gonna get one. Now let’s hope we see others fighing for it too!

    2. Monaco 2019, Max pulled the same move going into the swimming pool chicane and Lewis went straight on. No one was complaining back then.

  2. As a non racing driver why does Lewis keep leaving the inside to the corner open?

    1. Hes not leaving it open, per-se, it’s just someone is dive bombing a space that drivers wouldn’t normally go for because there’s a high probability of a collision, given that the person in front is not expecting it and has already commited to the apex. In Hamiltons case, hes now expecting it because Verstappen has tried these dive bomb/block pass move a few times in the last couple of races.

      Also, if Hamilton goes to cover the inside line just at the wrong moment as Vertsappen commits, he risks a move like Baku with Riccardo/Verstappen where the guy behind loses front downforce and just goes straight on into the other car.

    2. @andyfromsandy

      Because of previous divebombs maybe? Also he had to finish and couldn’t risk a collision.

      1. I’m amazed that some people can’t understand that fact.

    3. Because he’s not used to racing again simracers :-D
      More seriously, you rarely see this kind of moves excepted from Max. Not sure has ever had fights with such agressive drivers.

      1. Riciardo comes to mind, he had the original patent on it in the Red Bull ;-)

        1. And people lauded him for that…
          It was his trade mark and even the british fans here acted enthusiastically.. until it was used against lewis of course ;)

    4. Because that’s how you pick the racing line. You cannot be on the inside and the outside simultaneously. Moreover, going on the outside is much more advantageous, or efficient. You can risk going on the inside and, provided you arrive at the corner first, dictate your own racing line, but you need to have better tires, breaks, and you may not have a better exit compared to the person on the outside.

      tl;dr: watch ChainBear’s “The Art of Overtaking”. I am sure there is something I said wrong.

      1. @Denys

        Yes, but making the choice to stay on the outside leaves the inside open for the dive bomb, while covering the inside makes you slower and leaves you open for the switch-back. But that’s racing. Something that the stewards can’t make their mind up about…

    5. They had the faster car, FIA, Red Bull and Max threw everything againts him but they were still leading when the last lap started. I bet Hamilton knew that if he leaves even a tiny gap Max will attack. He left and Max took it.

    6. and if they would have come together it would have been Max’s fault as he would have sent the divebomb. There was the title in line and it looked like an overtake which happens in the middle of the season lap 37/60.

    7. It certainly appeared amateurish at first glance, but because there is another DRS zone to come after the chicane, it is not a good bargain to defend hard into turn 6. Then the other guy gets the better exit off the chicane and you get gobbled in the following straight.

      1. DRS is not active for the first two laps of the race……..

    8. But @andyfromsandy, he is a racing driver!

    9. because he would compromise his getaway speed, since the inside line leaves you with much less speed as you exit the corner making you give unneccessary tow to the guy behind. so he gave that position intentionally so he can get better traction out of that corner and use the tow on the longer strait, but that redbull was running low downforce to lewis’medium thats how lewis couldnt pull clear off him.

    10. Because if Max genuinely intended to make the apex (the biggest complaint Red Bull had about Hamilton at Silverstone), then Max would have to brake soon enough that it’s not really a gap. It’s only a gap if you decide not to bother braking, and leave it up to the other driver whether or not to crash.

      1. You do not have to take the apex. You just have to make the corner and max did that.

    11. Because his racecraft is so rusty after years of competing against himself.

      A smart driver would let Max do the dive bomb and brake earlier to get a perfect exit for the corner and retake on the next straight. Ham is not that bright though….

    12. Redbull can overtake both from inside and outside. But what they cannot do is to beat mercedes in straight line, therefore hamilton wants to keep outside line so that he has a better speed when he completes corner, that way he can still be in front. But blocking the inside he he will make his tyres dirty and leave vulnarable to other guys. Short answer, because he doesnt have red bull car.

  3. Well, I think this confirms that the alleged toxicity between Lewis and Max is indeed non-existent. They both know how good the other is as a driver in Formula 1 and respect that.

    1. @david-br 100% agree. The one shining light throughout this season’s battle, amongst the controversy and both team principals acting for the most part like they’re 5 years old, has been that Hamilton and Verstappen do seem to get along quite well and aren’t the bitter enemies some have made them out to be. They both seem to respect each other extremely highly. Of course there are going to be your heat of the moment angry rages, I think we’re all guilty of that once in a while, but once the tempers and adrenaline have died down a bit they seem to get on quite well. Certainly not a Hamilton-Rosberg or Senna-Prost scenario.

      Now if only the two team principals could follow suit.

      1. With the way this season went, don’t you think Toto and Christian are just trying to get more entertainment by doing silly things off track?

        1. @krichelle The thought alone of trying to understand Toto and Christian (and Masi for that matter) after this season is enough to give me nightmares.

    2. I think Ham is starstruck by Max, as he’s reminded of a young Senna or Schumacher.

      He probably can’t believe that as an average driver he gets to compete against a future F1 legend.

      1. Yeah, probably not this . . .

      2. racenfans.net commentary is better than this….

  4. Lewis couldn’t do anything more then what he did. Maybe Mercedes could’ve pit him for fresh tires but that’s always easy to say afterwards. Luck was now in favor of Max.

    Nice to see the number 1 back on the car. I’ve always liked it to see that, in times of Schumi and Alonso it makes its more special to see directly who’s the champ.

    1. Masi would not have restarted the race, if Verstappen was in the lead. It was a lose-lose decision for Merc, as FIA/liberty wanted a new champion. They even went as far as braking the rules to achieve it.

      1. How do you know? The fia didn’t seem particularly interested in stopping merc domination, otherwise they’d have punished silverstone more harshly etc., they seem to not care who wins.

        1. Having thought about it, I don’t think Masi would have restarted if Max had been in front– because Horner would have been yelling at him to restart, and Wolff knows the rules well enough to know he shouldn’t even ask for a restart.

          But that’s a lotta coulda-woulda-shoulda theorycrafting.

        2. @esploratore1 did you watch SPA ? it started with SC and ended with SC, and max was 100% happy with the decision, and didnt hear horner complaining about it… oh wait, if it is max, it is all good and fair.

          1. @mysticus

            Max actually wanted to race and didn’t seem happy with the decision to merely run some laps under the SC.

        3. @ Esploratore: masi actually dosent want lewis to win the title and he dont want shumachaer’s record to be beaten and he said he wants max to win the title he said it all on interview just google it!

  5. Great comments from Verstappen, it’s nice to see this side of him. I’m not a fan of his driving style, but he definitely is a worthy world champion and I hope this isn’t overturned in the courts or anything. I feel sad for both drivers that it ended this way, there’s nothing they could have done about it they both tried to maximise what they had as they have done all season. Kudos to Max.

    1. Except the other side is to sulk and leave the podium.

      1. @andyfromsandy the other side thinks the race director broke the rules, and is rightly challenging it. I’m pretty sure they know the result will not be changed, but that’s the nuclear option and it will force the courts to listen. Nobody wants a season to be decided by the courts, but then again nobody wants the season to be decided by the race director ignoring the rulebook, and here we are anyway…

        If you sue someone, you don’t do so for just what you want, because the other side will often try to settle for a lower figure. You go for more, and then the settlement is more likely to be what you wanted in the first place. I suspect Merc expect some lesser remediation, plus a promise to improve the directorship and stewarding.

        1. I meant the other side of Max is to skulk of the podium and not join in the podium celebration.

      2. And 4 days ago he literally said his opinion on Lewis changed this year and not in a positive way…

        1. That was in regards of asking for penalties. Still one of the reasons why i do not like the person Hamilton but i respect the racer.
          Moaning is part of lewis and it is one of his very bad habits.

          1. Max moans even more than Lewis. Though to be fair, are there any drivers that don’t moan and complain?

    2. @john-h Completely agree about feeling sorry for both drivers. Neither of them had any role whatsoever in this farce, but both of them could see everything change in the blink of an eye. As you say, Max took complete advantage of the scenario he was put in, it just so happens that said scenario was so seriously flawed thag there are (understandably) big discussions and appeals about it.

      My take on this season is this: Max was the faster driver, and on his day, was absolutely imperious. Just look at both races in Austria for example. But I feel Lewis had the better racecraft and was probably a more complete driver. I think both of them would have been deserving champions.

      Interesting side note I’ve realised: If you did a pre-1990s style, and you used drop scores taking 16 out of 22 races, which doesn’t sound too unreasonable based on what they did back then, then Max would have won the championship with exclusively 1st and 2nd place finishes counting towards his tally (taking 9 wins, so not Spa, and 7 second places), and would have won the title by a canter most likely. Not quite Jim Clark’s 100% of possible points in the 1960s under the drop score system, but remarkable nonetheless. Goes to show that when he doesn’t have bad luck or make silly mistakes, he’s always right at the top. The other stat I like is that Verstappen won the title without raking 3rd place all season long. And for all we know Lewis could have come second without a single 3rd place finish if Spa wasn’t such a stupid “race”

      1. Yes, absolutely, and there wasn’t much competition from bottas and perez ofc. In any case in a normal race, hamilton would’ve had a 3rd place in baku.

      2. @RandomMallard

        You are completely ignoring the big mistakes that Lewis made over the season. For me, that’s really why I think that Max outshone Lewis. Not that Max was perfect, but his mistakes were relatively minor. If you discount luck for both drivers, those mistakes mostly had fairly little impact on his results (costing him one place or nothing).

        In contrast, Lewis made major mistakes, that were in part salvaged by luck, which he of course doesn’t get credit for.

        I’m looking forward to next season. Hopefully we get some better stewarding and a bit less extreme (bad) luck. Perhaps Lewis will make fewer mistakes as he (hopefully) won’t have to deal with the after effects of Covid.

        If you did a pre-1990s style, and you used drop scores taking 16 out of 22 races, which doesn’t sound too unreasonable based on what they did back then

        I would actually be in favor of dropping the results of 2 races or so, because extreme bad luck has an enormous impact right now. A single silly accident or such can undo a bunch of races where the driver performed great. However, it’s bad for the show, so it won’t happen.

  6. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    13th December 2021, 16:21

    Hamilton still lost though lol

  7. There is a very high chance that Mercedes appeal will be upheld. There is overwhelming evidence that FIA did not follow the correct Safety car protocol. Redbull should not celebrate too much.
    Max did a great job and there is no doubt in my mind that he is the quickest driver over lap on the grid. But is he the overall best? No. Did Lewis beat him over a season? Yes.
    Hamilton is Still the Real Champion of 2021 in my eyes.

    1. I think we get that 48.12 was not followed but the interpretations at this point imply that a different rule was adhered to.

      Some bright sparks are even claiming that “any laps cars” means any number of the race directors choosing not all of them.

      1. Some bright sparks are even claiming that “any laps cars” means any number of the race directors choosing not all of them.

        If I walk into a room and say “Any of you with kids, put your hand up”, everyone knows it means all. The same is true with “any lapped cars are required to pass”. Masi, the Stewards and Red Bull were grasping at straws with both that and the other rules they quoted, trying to justify Masi’s massive cock-up after the fact.

        1. 48.12 comes with the big IF that nothing happens unless the clerk of the course deems it safe, which the FIA will say he did only in regards to a select number of cars. Convenient lie? Sure, but there’s a massive out there, and in addition there’s always 48.13 which says nothing about having to wait for 48.12 to be played out completely. The FIA will – rightly – note that F1 (FIA, teams and Liberty) has collectively decided to race whenever possible, and it was possible to race on the last lap so they did. There is zero chance that this result will change.

    2. @amg44 The latest rumours I’m hearing (from The Times) is that Merc are probably not going to pursue an appeal. I think they’ve probably realised trying to argue against the FIA in an FIA court isn’t going to work. I think they’ve achieved a bigger picture victory though in highlighting the issues here. I expect there will be pressure from all sides to see Masi go after this.

    3. How did hamilton beat him over a season?

      Let’s give him this win, he prob gains 15 points, let’s give a 2nd place to verstappen in hungary, verstappen is back to being champion.

      I don’t have to mention silverstone or baku, I hope.

    4. You really must learn when to stop. Don’t kick your opponent when he is down. This is not embarrasment, this is sheer emotion by someone who feels robbed. How would you think Max (and you) would have reacted when it was the other way around? Just celebrate your champion and allow others their emotions. A little more respect would be appropriate to those who fought their hearts out.

      1. @matthijs Agree. While I may not necessarily like him (or Horner very much on that note), I have an enormous amount of respect for Toto. He’s clearly very passionate, and in the moment you are always going to show that passion. Was Ronaldo crying on the pitch after he got injured in the Euro 2016 final ’embarrassing’, or Saka’s tears after he missed the crucial penalty in the Euro final this year? No, it was passion. Or the infamous shot of the Ferrari mechanic smashing up the garage wall in Brazil in 2008? No, that was passion.

        This man’s life revolves around this sport, and like any fan he’ll experience the highs and the lows, and like any fan, he’s going to react to that.

    5. The only thing tainted in this whole episode is the FAI….reduced to s laughing stock.
      Max won yes….even deservedly…..luck went his way for once , but the FAI should apologise to all concerned for the shambles they served up.

      1. Woah keep the Football Association of Ireland out of this…

        On a similar note at least UEFA are keeping in touch with the FIA in the battle to be the worst officiating group with that Champions League draw fiasco

  8. No-one remembers anything about the 89 and 90 seasons apart from Senna at Suzuka getting robbed one year at the chicane and taking out Prost in 90.
    All the 21 season will be remembered for is Lewis being robbed by the actions of Masi.
    The whole World was watching Sunday and witnessed a sporting travesty up there with ‘Hand of God’, a potential classic season with a last race decider was eventually reduced to an embarrassment of blunders that lead to a scripted finish, a truly classic season ruined all for the sake of ‘the show’

    1. But they won’t, they’ll remember Max being taken out in Silverstone, Hungary and Baku, and realise he should have won the title races earlier!

      1. All the 21 season will be known for was the year Max was gifted the WDC…. a tainted trophy..

      2. Baku was red bulls fault, his team. Same as stroll and Aston. Silverstone max wasn’t free of blame, as the stewards also noted. He could have scored at least 18 points that day had he chosen.

        1. @switchbackdummy

          Pirelli never said that Red Bull or Aston Martin were running disallowed pressures, so if the guidelines were wrong for the track, then the blame is on Pirelli, not the teams.

          But it’s pretty clear by now that this is the established narrative for the Lewisfans, regardless of the facts.

    2. And here we have a classic example of a toxic Hamilton fan. The same treatment was given to to Rosberg after he beat Hamilton. There were accusations of corruption at Mercedes and even that Toto favored Rosberg. Hamilton has been extremely graceful in defeat, some of his fans would do well to follow his example.

      1. Where in my post is there anything toxic, classic Max fan using ‘change the subject by crying toxic’. The whole World watched a sporting stitch up and the only people who don’t see it are RB fans.
        F1 is the laughing stock of the sports world.

        1. I’m not here to argue. I’m not a Max or Lewis fan but this level of immatureness (from both sides) is really turning me away from the sport. Not the FIA but the ‘die-hard’ fans of certain drivers, they’re just toxic to the sport.

          1. F1 isn’t a sport.

  9. I’m sure Hamilton doesn’t need more PlayStation champions gong him advice. And I’m sure he didn’t sleep last night going over the last lap. But I wonder if he regrets not just sending it down the inside into t9 and seeing what happened. He clearly didn’t have the grip to slow the car down and verstappen was not going to not just close the door. so probably it was going to be who crawled to the finish afterward. But going around the outside there was never going to happen. If the shoe was on the other foot you could be certain verstappen would have made the pass or wrecked them

    I really wonder if we have had another step change in the sports mores now. Old timers remember when “aiming” your car on the grid and chopping people off was a no no. Then it became the “Schumacher chop”. Then it became just normal. Just like running people off in the outside is now fully orthodox.

    1. @dmw I feel that your line about Max being a “playstation champion” is slightly misleading.

      The F1 2021 game on PlayStation doesn’t allow lapped cars to gain back the lap ;-)

  10. Hamilton was by far the fastest out there but did he do “everything” right though?

    I am talking about the moment of the race where Checo outfoxed him, slowed down, and mugged the DRS after turn 6 leading him to be in front in sector 3 and Hamilton lose those 8 crucial seconds to Verstappen. He would have enough gap both for pitstop under VSC and the safety car in the end.

  11. I don’t think there is any court that will be interested in taking Merc’s case. They will probably think that F1 should sort out their own problems. Masi so screwed up, the rules are there so stick to it.

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