‘I can’t box?’: Hamilton and Verstappen’s 2021 Abu Dhabi GP radio transcript

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The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which took place one year ago today, was made infamous by the events of the final lap.

But the 57 laps which came before it were packed with tension, drama and controversy as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen fought head-to-head over the destiny of the world championship.

The outcome of the race and, with it, the drivers’ title, was swung by then-FIA F1 race director Michael Masi’s decision to break with convention – not to mention the rulebook – by organising a last-lap restart in which only a portion of the lapped cars were allowed to rejoin the lead lap. Crucially, the only ones moved out of the way were those which separated race leader Hamilton from championship rival Verstappen.

Until then, the race had been slipping away from Verstappen, though Red Bull did everything they could to keep him in the fight. He pitted early, forcing Hamilton to respond, while team mate Sergio Perez was left out to delay the Mercedes driver.

That slashed Verstappen’s deficit to his rival, which proved crucial when the race was interrupted twice in the second half. Verstappen took a fresh set of tyres during a VSC period, and again during the fateful Safety Car deployment at the end of the race. Each time Mercedes told Hamilton they couldn’t bring him in because doing so would drop him behind his rival, who would inevitably stay out, and trying to re-pass Verstappen on track even with a tyre advantage would be fraught with peril.

That plus a u-turn by the race director which caught both teams by surprise set up one of the most controversial conclusions to a championship fight. Here’s how every lap of it played out.

Hamilton and Verstappen: 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix team radio transcript

Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Yas Marina circuit, 2021
Hamilton kept his lead by going off on lap one

The pair shared the front row, Verstappen on pole, but Hamilton made a better start and was immediately through into the lead.

Verstappen had chosen to start on soft tyres to Hamilton’s mediums, however, and was within range as they approached turn six. The Red Bull driver dived for the inside, edging Hamilton wide at the exit, but staying within the track’s bounds himself.

Hamilton cut the chicane and rejoined well ahead of Verstappen. He backed off briefly, allowing the Red Bull driver to regain some ground, but did not hand the lead to his rival.

The race director, Masi, informed Red Bull he was happy Hamilton had restored the advantage he had gained by leaving the track, and they raced on.

Lap: 1/58
BonningtonGap at 0.4 behind.VerstappenHe has to give that back.
BonningtonSo let’s just…LambiaseMode seven please Max and look at your brake bias offset. Mode seven, look at your brake bias offset.
HamiltonPushed me off-track.
BonningtonYeah copy we are happy with the gap that you’ve reinstated.
Lap: 2/58
BonningtonVerstappen at 1.4. Go HPP3 position two, three position two.LambiaseFocus on that rear right for the moment, Max.
BonningtonGap at 1.4.Verstappen[Unclear] but he just easily cut the corner.
HamiltonAre we okay here, man?LambiaseYeah, we’re on it Max, don’t worry, you just focus on your rear right side.
Lap: 3/58
BonningtonSo DRS has been enabled, gap at 1.5.LambiaseDRS enabled.
BonningtonThere’s no investigation necessary for the [incident on] lap one. And surface temps management is good.LambiaseOkay mate so just get your head down. No investigation on the shortcut or the advantage that he’s gained in terms of gap. So let’s just get on with this and win it on-track mate.
VerstappenThat is incredible. What are they doing there?

Verstappen was unable to get within DRS range of Hamilton, who slowly drew away from him. It wasn’t long before Verstappen’s tyres began to fade and he started to drop back more quickly.

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Lap: 4/58
BonningtonAnd gap at 1.9, only losses are areas of management, we look strong 12, 13.LambiaseDisplay eight, display eight.
Lap: 5/58
BonningtonAnd that gap at 2.1, Verstappen a 29.0.
Lap: 6/58
BonningtonAnd gap at 2.1, Verstappen 28.7.
BonningtonIf you can just update us on your tag mode.
Lap: 7/58
BonningtonAnd go menu dash position two.LambiaseOkay Max can I have a front wing update for the next stint, please. Front wing update.
BonningtonSo Verstappen at 2.2. last lap 28.7. Only losses are areas of management and straight line.VerstappenYeah it’s okay.
Lap: 8/58
BonningtonGap 2.5 to Verstappen at 2.5, last lap is a 2.6, you can update us with your tag level.VerstappenRear starting to struggle a little bit.
LambiaseOkay understood. Just keep on top with your tools. And mode six, Max.
Lap: 9/58
BonningtonGap at 2.6. Last lap was a 28.8. We could probably just use a little bit more pace. Just a couple of tenths.LambiaseTorque four if you need it, torque four.
Lap: 10/58
BonningtonOkay Lewis that’s a tidy lap. Gap at 3.0. Last lap Verstappen 28.6.
BonningtonAnd turn two, three management similar to Verstappen.
Lap: 11/58
BonningtonThese are great laps Lewis, just keep it up, keep the pressure on. Gap at 3.9. Last lap was a 28.9.
BonningtonAnd if you go menu dash position six when you can. Dash six.

Red Bull wasted no time bringing Verstappen in once his tyres had gone. Mercedes, unwilling to risk allowing him to jump ahead of Hamilton using his fresh rubber, reacted immediately.

Lap: 12/58
BonningtonGreat stuff Lewis you managed to break the tow.VerstappenRear tyres are really struggling.
BonningtonSo that gap at 4.9. Verstappen 29.1. HPP9, position 11, nine position 11 when you can.LambiaseOkay understood mate.
VerstappenMaybe a bit more front wing for the next stop .
Lap: 13/58
BonningtonGap behind 5.7, Verstappen 29.3.LambiaseBox and pit confirm, please Max. Box, pit confirm. Strat 12 in pit lane.
BonningtonThis is great work, Lewis, just keep it up. Verstappen in the pit lane now. And you go strat mode four, strat mode four. Just give us a balance check, balance check.
Lap: 14/58
HamiltonBalance is good, tyres are still okay.LambiaseAnd strat eight.Torque nine, torque nine. You will be racing Tsunoda and Leclerc. So racing Leclerc, Norris. You’re alongside Leclerc now. Looks like you’re ahead of him. Alright. Straight past Norris.
BonningtonOkay, copy.LambiaseOkay so that’s Sainz ahead of you his last lap 29.6. And Hamilton pitted last lap. Hamilton braking in turn five.
HamiltonThe next tyre take out, take out a hole, maybe.
BonningtonCopy that.
BonningtonOkay Lewis so box box. It will be a shallow drop at the stop, shallow drop.

Hamilton kept his lead over Verstappen but emerged behind the other Red Bull. Perez had also started the race on softs but ran eight laps longer than his team mate.

Lap: 15/58
BonningtonAnd traffic with Sainz behind on exit. So you’re all clear. So gap to Verstappen at 5.2. Try and maintain that gap, just bring this set in nice and steady. We just have Perez ahead, 11 seconds, he is inside our Safety Car window.
HamiltonHow much is he in?
BonningtonYou’re safe by at least three seconds. Gap to Verstappen at 5.3. Just remember need to maintain that. Verstappen was a 28.5 last lap.
Lap: 17/58
BonningtonGap to Verstappen at 6.8. Last lap was a 29.0, he’s just behind Sainz at the moment. Sainz P3, Verstappen P4.
BonningtonAnd Perez is seven seconds ahead doing 29.6, yet to stop.
Lap: 18/58
BonningtonAnd gap to Verstappen at eight seconds, last lap 29.1. still behind Sainz.
BonningtonAnd Perez 4.9 ahead, he’s struggling with rear tyres, 29.9 last lap.
BonningtonVerstappen now through, gap at 7.9.
Lap: 19/58
BonningtonSo Verstappen 8.7 behind, last lap was a 28.5 with half a lap of clear air.LambiaseOkay Max can we have mode seven and strat two. Okay so gap to Hamilton eight seconds, last lap 27.9.
BonningtonWe’re happy with surface temps.
Perez played a decisive role, delaying Hamilton for two laps

By lap 20, Hamilton was on Perez’s tail. The Red Bull driver defended as if he was the one fighting for the title rather than his team mate, rebuffing the Mercedes for almost two laps.

That allowed Verstappen to slash the deficit to his rival. Having been over eight seconds behind Hamilton at one point, after Perez pitted the gap was little more than a second.

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Lap: 20/58
BonningtonSo obviously Perez ahead. You may want to come just a little bit rearward on B-bal.
Lap: 21/58
BonningtonSo got Verstappen right behind Perez.VerstappenOh, Checo is a legend.
BonningtonSo Verstappen car behind. Just one second with that battle. Gap at 1.8 to VerstappenLambiaseAbsolute animal.

With Hamilton and Verstappen now both on hard tyres, the Mercedes started to draw away again.

Lap: 22/58
BonningtonSo Verstappen 28.5 last lap, gap at 2.0.LambiaseLet us know if you need any help with the tools at this stage, Max.
BonningtonSo Lewis just need to build that gap again.
BonningtonOkay thanks mate.
Lap: 23/58
BonningtonGap at 2.2.LambiaseDeficit all final sector at this stage.
BonningtonGap at 2.5, Verstappen 28.8. Only losses management and straight-line in that tow. And just a reminder to drink.
Lap: 24/58
BonningtonGap at 2.6.LambiaseStrat four please Max, strat four.
BonningtonGap at 2.9, last lap 28.2.
Lap: 25/58
BonningtonGap at 2.9.
BonningtonGap at 3.1, Verstappen 28.8.
Hamilton[Unclear] last sector?
BonningtonStand by. We are happy with surface temps.

As they approached half-distance both had to back off for a yellow flag at one point. Red Bull told Verstappen he had lost two-tenths more than Hamilton. At no stage did either team let the slightest possible infraction by their rival pass without comment, well aware the stewards would be listening.

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Lap: 26/58
BonningtonGap at three seconds.LambiaseCurrently yellow flag at turn six ahead.
BonningtonWe have yellow, yellow down at turn six, seven. So yellow, yellow.LambiaseSo in that sector Hamilton dropped three tenths, you dropped five tenths.
Lap: 27/58
BonningtonSo that yellow has cleared.
BonningtonGap at 3.9.
HamiltonThere’s a yellow, Bono. On the back straight.
BonningtonYeah copy Lewis that’s cleared.
Lap: 28/58
BonningtonGap at 4.1, last lap was a 28.3.LambiaseCan I have a front wing update when you can please, Max.
HamiltonIt’s a long way with these tyres.VerstappenLess. Can I have three clicks.

Hamilton began to build his lead quickly as the race moved into its second phase.

Lap: 29/58
HamiltonLet me know what times I need to do.LambiaseStrat two, strat two.
BonningtonCopy Lewis. If we can just keep eking that gap out to Verstappen. Last lap he was a 27.9, the gap is now 3.8.LambiaseHamilton last lap, 28.1. This is lap 29. There will be 29 remaining after this one. Mode six, mode six.
HamiltonUnderstood, mate.LambiaseWe are managing more than Lewis in turns two and three.
Lap: 30/58
BonningtonLewis can you go HPP3 position four, three position four.
BonningtonGap to Verstappen 4.5. Last lap was a 27.9.
Lap: 31/58
BonningtonSchumacher ahead two seconds is traffic.Lambiase[unclear] exit line off turn 12.
BonningtonGap to Verstappen at 4.3, last lap was a 27.7.
Lap: 32/58
BonningtonIf we were to stop under Safety Car, would you prefer medium or hard?
HamiltonBoth tyres felt good, this one does too.

While Perez played a significant role on Verstappen’s behalf, Hamilton’s team mate was out of contention. Valtteri Bottas was struggling with his power unit, qualified sixth and never figured in the fight at the front.

Hamilton asked about his progress at one stage. This was Bottas’ final race as a Mercedes driver, and though he was about to be replaced at the team by George Russell, he was deeply invested in the team’s success and deeply unhappy over Hamilton’s eventual defeat.

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Lap: 33/58
BonningtonGap to Verstappen at 5.3.
BonningtonSo happy with this gap, Lewis. So if you can just match Verstappen’s times, it’s a 27.9.
HamiltonHow’s Valtteri doing?
BonningtonValtteri’s just pitted, he’s P9 at the moment, but race order still hasn’t fleshed out.
Lap: 34/58
HamiltonI’ll tell you whichever is the quickest tyre.
BonningtonCopy Lewis. If you can update your tyre switch for Safety Car. Verstappen was a 27.6, 27.6, that gap at 5.2.
Lap: 35/58
BonningtonGap’s opened out now to 5.7. Verstappen a 27.8, 27.8 his target lap.

Antonio Giovinazzi’s final F1 race came to an end with a technical problem, triggering a VSC period.

Verstappen had an enormous gap behind him and was easily able to pit for fresh rubber. But Hamilton was only five seconds ahead of Verstappen, and unable to do the same without losing the lead.

Lap: 36/58
BonningtonGo menu dash position two, dash position two. So VSC, VSC, keep the delta positive, staying out, staying out. Go strat mode one, strat mode one. S car stopped exit turn nine, on right-hand side.LambiaseVirtual Safety Car deployed. Dash positive, dash positive.
LambiaseSo this is for Giovinazzi exit turn nine, exit turn nine.
LambiaseBox and pit confirm please, Max, box and pit confirm. Strat 12 in pit lane.
Lap: 37/58
BonningtonSo Verstappen in the pit lane.LambiaseStrat eight, strat eight. VSC is still deployed. Latifi alongside, okay. back to dash positive. And recharge on please Max.
BonningtonGap to Verstappen now 17.9 seconds.LambiaseVirtual Safety Car ending, VSC ending.
HamiltonHow is it 17? How’s he not lost 21 seconds?LambiaseSo 21 laps remaining. Hamilton did not pit.
BonningtonVSC, Lewis.
HamiltonAre we going to be in trouble?
BonningtonSo VSC ending, VSC ending.
Lap: 38/58
BonningtonOkay that gap at 17.0 to Verstappen. He will need eight tenths a lap on us to catch. So we just need to keep that in mind.VerstappenWhat is the gap?
Lambiase17 seconds.

Hamilton was concerned by the fact Verstappen had been able to fit fresh rubber, but Mercedes told him they hadn’t had a choice.

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Lap: 39/58
HamiltonBit of a risk leaving me out, no?LambiaseStrat two, Max, strat two. That’s a good time, let’s go. Okay, we’re looking for around a second a lap.
BonningtonThe potential to lose track position Lewis too high.
Lap: 40/58
Bonnington[Unclear] 26.1.LambiaseStill 19 laps to go, 19. That last lap seven tenths. Lewis’s tyres 26 laps old. He’ll be looking for 44 laps, 44 laps on his set.
BonningtonYeah copy Lewis. Verstappen was a 26.6 in free air.

Verstappen had now fallen over 16 seconds behind Hamilton (the gap was temporarily inflated by the VSC) and Red Bull had to tell him where his rival was as he set off after him. With fresher rubber he was able to take up to half a second per lap out of Hamilton, though he needed more.

Lap: 41/58
LambiaseMode five please Max, mode five.
LambiaseHamilton turn six.
Lap: 42/58
BonningtonVerstappen 26.3, 26.3. If you go menu dash position six.LambiaseHamilton last lap was a 26.7. Gap is at 14.4.
LambiaseGo forward brake bias offset if you need it for turn five, Max. Mid seven is available in general as well, mid seven.
Lap: 43/58
BonningtonVerstappen was a 26.5, 26.5.LambiaseHamilton last lap 26.8. Mode six, mode six.
Lap: 44/58
BonningtonAnd Verstappen was a 26.4, 26.4.LambiaseOkay gap 13.9. Fifteen laps remaining.
BonningtonWe’ve got a group of four cars ahead who are battling.LambiaseThere’ll be blue flags, Stroll, soon.
Lap: 45/58
BonningtonVerstappen 26.8, 26.8. And let us know about the tyres for a Safety Car.LambiaseBack to strat four please Max, strat four.
HamiltonHow many laps left?
Bonnington13 when you cross the line, 13 when you cross the line. Gap to Verstappen at 13.9.
Lap: 46/58
BonningtonVerstappen a 26.8, 26.8.LambiaseNext will be blue flags for Vettel.
Lap: 47/58
BonningtonLewis can you go menu dash position one, dash position one. And Verstappen 27.0, free air.LambiaseB-bal four please Max, B-bal four. You can then counter that with the pull toggle when you need it.
HamiltonIt says I’ve got eight laps on my dash.
BonningtonIgnore the dash, ignore the dash.

Hamilton lost time with traffic. Mercedes reassured him, pointing out Verstappen would have to do the same.

Lap: 48/58
HamiltonHow many laps?Lambiase11 laps remaining, Max, including this one.
Bonnington11 remaining, 11 remaining. Gap to Verstappen 12.3.
HamiltonHow’s it closed down to 12 already?
BonningtonIt’s just that backmarker traffic, Lewis. He’s going to have to get through it too.
Lap: 49/58
BonningtonSo Verstappen was a 26.5 in free air.
BonningtonAnd only real losses to Verstappen are with the management, so you’re doing a great job.

Before the race began there were some concerns the new kerbs at the reconfigured Yas Marina would cause tyre problems. This had happened at the recent race in Qatar. Mercedes warned Hamilton to take extra care.

Lap: 50/58
BonningtonAnd we’ve seen Norris with a front-left puncture, so just be careful on the kerbs.
BonningtonSo we think the problem might be just turn 15, turn 16. Verstappen a 26.7.
HamiltonI’m off kerbs.
BonningtonOkay, copy.
BonningtonSo Verstappen still has free air. The gap is seven seconds and there’ll be eight to go when you cross the line.

With 10 laps to go Verstappen was no longer catching Hamilton. The gap between them stabilised at 11 seconds, and Verstappen was about to hit the traffic Hamilton had already lapped.

Lap: 51/58
BonningtonSame lap time to Verstappen. He is still strong in all the corners. Gap at 11 seconds.LambiaseWe’ve blue flags ahead. Leclerc, Ricciardo and both Alpines.
Lap: 52/58
BonningtonSo Verstappen is just getting onto the back of those four cars that were traffic for you.
BonningtonSo Verstappen 27.0. Gap at 11.5.
HamiltonHow many laps?
BonningtonThat will be six when you cross the line, six.

Nicholas Latifi’s race ended on his 51st lap when he crashed at turn 14. Both drivers were warned about the incident, Hamilton initially given the wrong corner number.

The Safety Car was deployed. Once again, he wasn’t far enough ahead of Verstappen to be able to pit and come out ahead of the Red Bull, and once again Verstappen had ample room behind to take fresh rubber. He did, Red Bull fitting the softs. However it remained to be seen whether the race would restart in time for him to take advantage of them.

Lap: 53/58
BonningtonAnd Verstappen 27.6 in traffic. And gap at 12.0.LambiaseMax, there’s yellow flags at turn 14, Latifi is completely in the middle of the road, debris all over the shop. Safety Car deployed, Max, Safety Car deployed. Dash positive. Keep tight around turn 14.
BonningtonSo have a double yellow, double yellow exit turn four, exit turn four. Turn 14, so turn 14 yellow, yellow, entering it now, stay left, stay left, stay left, staying out, staying out, Safety Car, Safety Car keep the delta positive.LambiaseBox and pit confirm please Max. Box, pit confirm. Strat 12 in pit lane.
HamiltonSh… should have come in.
BonningtonSo strat mode one.
HamiltonI can’t box?

Knowing he would be vulnerable at the restart, Hamilton repeatedly urged his team to tell the Safety Car to speed up, reducing the amount of time left to finish the race. Had the number of laps run out before the Safety Car came in – as happened at Monza this year – he would have been champion.

Lap: 54/58
HamiltonWhat’s the situation behind?LambiaseStrat eight. Safety Car’s just picked up Hamilton. So just keep following your dash. Safety Car currently at turn seven.
BonningtonSo the situation is Verstappen has pitted. He had a free pit stop. We would have lost track position to him. Four laps remaining when you cross the line. So at this point, field has to bunch and then they have to send lapped cars through so it may not restart.VerstappenHow many laps remaining?
HamiltonOh, fuck. Is he right behind me?LambiaseThere’s four laps, including this one.
BonningtonHe will be once they’ve sorted out all the order. This is going to take a while to sort out.
HamiltonWith new tyres?
BonningtonCopy, Lewis. We would have lost track position if we had pitted.
HamiltonSafety Car is going way too slow.
BonningtonYeah just stay off the debris, just stay left.
HamiltonSafety Car needs to pick up pace.
Lap: 55/58
BonningtonCopy. So the field has yet to bunch.LambiaseCan I have mode three for now, please, Max. Mode three. Just keep working the tyres, keep working the tyres.
HamiltonTell the Safety Car to speed up. It’s not sped up down this straight.LambiaseOkay, so the Williams is on a crane that’s being moved out of the way now. But still stay hard left through 14.
BonningtonCopy Lewis.
HamiltonThe Safety Car is not going full gas on the straight.
BonningtonCopy Lewis, understood.
HamiltonHow many cars are behind me and between us?
BonningtonSo stay hard left. Five cars between you. The field still hasn’t bunched.
HamiltonHow many laps left?
BonningtonThere’ll be three when you cross the line.

As the recovery of Latifi’s car took longer than expected, the race director initially announced the lapped cars would not be allowed to rejoin the lead lap.

Both drivers’ race directors misunderstood this message at first, telling their drivers the opposite before correcting themselves. Verstappen and his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase were unimpressed.

Lap: 56/58
BonningtonSo lapped cars are now allowed to overtake so no weaving, stay on-line. Oh, they’re not going to overtake, actually, they’re not going to allow the cars to overtake. So we believe they may restart the race like this. And just be mindful that there’s still that extinguishant down exit of turn 14.VerstappenThese backmarkers need to get out of the way. They should unlap themselves.
HamiltonThere’s still a load of debris down there.LambiaseYeah, they will, once that message comes through. Okay so stay on-line Max. Those lapped cars are now being allowed to overtake, stay on-line. Let them go off the racing line. Not! Sorry, lapped, cancel that, cars will not be allowed to overtake.
BonningtonCopy that Lewis. Just think working those tyres. So there will be one when you cross the line, there are five backmarkers between you and P2. So Norris is the car behind he has seven-lap-old medium tyres.VerstappenYeah, of course, typical decision.
LambiaseIt’s classic.
VerstappenI’m not surprised.

On the penultimate lap, race director Masi changed his mind. Crucially, he only allowed the five lapped cars separating Hamilton from Verstappen to rejoin the lead lap. This meant Verstappen would have a clear shot at the lead. Meanwhile the lapped Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll behind the Red Bull were left a lap down, separating Verstappen from his closest threat behind, third-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr, who later said the “strange” decision almost cost him a podium finish.

Verstappen passed Hamilton immediately after the restart
Lap: 57/58
BonningtonSo he’s now going to let the cars through.LambiaseKeep working the tyres, mate.
Hamilton[Unclear] going to pass the Safety Car, man.LambiaseOkay I think all the cars ahead of you are going to pass Hamilton. Everybody behind you will stay in position. Yes, everybody up to Vettel are allowed to overtake Hamilton. Safety Car is in this lap, Max. Mode one and strat one. Mode one, strat one. And B-bal offset when you need it. B-bal offset. This is it mate. This is it. Just think about your tools you need.
BonningtonSo he’s going to let four cars through. And Safety Car in this lap, Safety Car in this lap. So just prepare your tyres. It will be strat five and you will have overtake on each of the straights, one lap remaining. Safety Car at turn 15 now.LambiaseSafety Car turn 14. Remember you’re racing from the line. Safety Car turn 15.

The race restarted and Verstappen immediately passed Hamilton. His tyres were two stages softer and 39 laps fresher.

The Red Bull pit wall exploded in joy at the end of a tense championship fight involving several clashes between the two drivers.

In contrast Mercedes were disconsolate. Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington reminded him he was supposed to bring his car to a stop on the grid; instead he drive into the pits, stopped in parc ferme and sat in silence for two minutes as he composed himself.

After a brief word at the podium ceremony, he took part in no further media activities before leaving the circuit and did not make any public statement again for more than a month.

Lap: 58/58
HamiltonThis is getting manipulated, man.LambiaseWatch the weaving. Stay on-line now.
LambiasePress and hold the overtake. Press and hold the overtake.
LambiaseJust easy through turn 14.
BonningtonI’m just speechless, absolutely speechless.VerstappenOh, my God yes! Yes, yes! Oh, my God! Oh my God!
BonningtonStrat mode one. And supposed to be going to the grid, Lewis.HornerMax Verstappen. You are the world champion, the world champion!
LambiaseMate you absolutely deserve it. You absolutely deserve it. You’ve had no luck. Not had the rub of the green. Recharge on please, recharge on.
HornerMax. We are so proud of you.
VerstappenOh, my God guys. I love you so much.
HornerYou have driven like a champion all year. You deserve that. We needed a bit of luck. You got it. You made it happen. And we love you. We absolutely fucking love you.
VerstappenIt is unbelievable guys. Can we do this for another 10, 15 years together?
LambiaseMate, honestly. Stay on-track please Max, stay on-track. Fail 84. Mate the whole season, they tried to bring you down all year. The one piece of luck. One piece of luck.
VerstappenWent down to the last lap, unbelievable.
LambiaseYou enjoy this mate.
VerstappenI stay on-track?
LambiaseStay on-track Max, do what you need to do.

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23 comments on “‘I can’t box?’: Hamilton and Verstappen’s 2021 Abu Dhabi GP radio transcript”

  1. I see that Lewis Hamilton asked several times to box.
    He would have won the championship if he did, he was pretty quicker on this race.
    I still think that, Masi or not, Mercedes did make a mistake.

    1. Wrong.

      If merc pit, Redbull stay out and take track position, the Safety Car rules are then followed because Redbull are not hounding race control and Verstappen wins behind the SC.

      Merc did the only thing they could do, given they expected the rules to be followed.

      1. You’re talking about the last one… what about his first chance to pit? He was way too quick with that spicy engine… with the vsc if he had pitted with safety car or not he would passed max on track before that happened… Mercedes bottled it big time

        1. Absolutely. The team certainly wasnt the best on strategy in 2021 and did not deserve to win imho as their results came from two rather questionable unfair advantages: Having an unprecedented engine advantage and the tires structural change mid season to suit the rear end of their car. Without these they wouldnt have been in the fight in the first place. One of the most tainted seasons ever.

      2. If merc pit, Redbull stay out and take track position, the Safety Car rules are then followed because Redbull are not hounding race control and Verstappen wins behind the SC.

        Consipracy theory No.1. Popular as ever.

        Pretty sure I remember both teams making demands to Masi….

      3. wrong hamilton had a free pit stop after the safety car

    2. I am sure Mercedes made a mistake by not pitting after Max dove into the pit his following round as i think he had then a health time ahead. But it’s happened as it went and is now history.

      1. Absolutly.
        Things are done.
        Let’s move on :)
        And may Mercerdes learns from their mistakes …
        Cause … they proved this year that they still have to work on the « let’s box » ….

        Personnaly, i don’t care, it’s for them =^^=

        1. I’d say they were sweating in the Merc garage and thought they got away with it due to the Marshalls taking so long to clear up the crash.
          In the end, they didn’t get to creep around behind the safety car to the finish.

  2. Something happened in Abu Dhabi last year? Can someone bring me up to speed on this? Thanksabunch.

    1. Just the usual F1 stuff.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      13th December 2022, 9:32

      Don’t worry – just stay tuned to this site. There will be another reminder of what happened tomorrow and I hear there’s an Abu Dhabi 2021 special being released sometime over the weekend. There’s then a multi-part deep dive into the race coming out some time next week. Unfortunately, the new season is approaching so there will be some time given to that in future and if Lewis is fighting for the title this year, it may cause a few more to move on from this but if Max is still on top, I would expect at least a monthly update on Abu Dhabi 2021.

    3. Yes, the world and the universe itself was against mercedes. Or even worse. Even Mercedes was against Mercedes !!
      Shame !!
      I tell you !

  3. I feel that this whole Saga was brought on by Toto and Christian lobbying Masi the entire year. Toto being the worst of it in Masi’s eyes so Masi got the last. Laugh. Was it ideal no, Should he have been fired no. He was a great director and I think the whole issue was the access to him by team bosses.

  4. One of very few article about Abu Dhabi that mention lap-1.

  5. Literally move on from this. I just renewed by sub to this site for another year. I want a refund if you keep regurgitating the same editorial.

  6. So soon after their respective arrivals.
    A team radio transcript post about a race that happened twelve months ago feels pointless.
    Why don’t we also post a similar article about a late-season race from this year twelve months from now or a 2015 race, among other options?

    1. I forgot to remove my words from the Capito article, so disregard those.

  7. Typical example of keep feeding your audience of mainly MB fans…..but 12 months later and dozens of articles about the same subject?

    1. I’m not sure that’s true about this site’s audience. Almost all the responses to this article (and most other recent ones about it) come from people complaining about the content. Not from angry MB fans talking about how unfair it all was.

    2. What’s your problem?
      Were you hoping people would forget?

      We can always discuss the RBR “catering” budget excess if you like.

  8. If this was posted in the week after the event, then yeah, understandable. But stoking the fire exactly one year on???

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