Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, 2021

I spoke up for Hamilton because he speaks up for others says fan behind Abu Dhabi petition

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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A petition to declare Lewis Hamilton the winner of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has reached the milestone of over 100,000 signatures.

Hamilton’s controversial defeat in the race, following a final-lap restart in which he was passed by Max Verstappen, cost him that year’s world championship to his Red Bull rival.

The petition calls for the result of the season finale to be overturned and Hamilton declared the winner as the rules were not followed when race director Michael Masi arranged the restart. Masi only allowed the lapped cars between Verstappen and Hamilton to rejoin the lead lap, ignoring the others which were a lap behind.

Hamilton’s team Mercedes filed a protest against the race result, which was dismissed by the FIA. The team later chose not to take the matter to the FIA International Court of Appeal.

However Patel Gordon-Bennett – who has no affiliation to any of the drivers or teams who were in that race – believed the outcome was an “injustice” and began a petition on Change.org soon after the chequered flag fell on the 2021 season.

“I started the petition a few hours that evening after the race on December 12th, 2021,” she told RaceFans. “I was in my living room watching the race on Sky Sports F1 with my family.

“As soon as we saw the injustice, we were in shock and disbelief. I felt that this was a scheme to rob Mercedes and Lewis just as it was when they changed the rules to suit Red Bull’s car.”

Mercedes initially struggled to compete with Red Bull in 2021 following an off-season rules change which forced teams to redesign their floors. This was done in order to cut downforce and reduce the strain on Pirelli’s tyres following a series of failures the previous season.

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Hamilton’s eagerness to draw attention to causes such as diversity and the environment was an inspiration to the founder of the petition.

“Lewis had always been speaking out on other’s behalf – the disadvantaged, the disenfranchised and those without a voice,” she said. “I felt it was time we spoke up to help Lewis when he was being faced with injustice.

“In addition, it was disgraceful to the sport to see how one person can change the rules in the spur of the moment to get the result they want. If this was going to be F1, I did not want to be a part of it.”

Following an investigation the FIA concluded Masi had acted in “good faith” but “human error lead to the fact that not all cars were allowed to un-lap themselves.” Masi lost his job as F1 race director over his handling of the race.

The report referred to radio communications broadcast by F1 of Masi’s exchanges with Mercedes and Red Bull, which included the latter pressuring him to move the lapped cars out of the way during the Safety Car period. It was stated in the report that the race result remains “valid, final and cannot now be changed.”

Having started the petition almost a year and a half ago, Gordon-Bennett was taken by surprise when it began to rapidly amass signatures in recent weeks.

“I didn’t expect many signatures and in fact I had almost forgotten about it,” she said. “I was quite surprised when a friend from Ghana texted me a few days ago to say they saw my name in The Mirror newspaper as the person who started this petition and how it had gained 80,000 signatures. I have no idea what has caused an increase in the signatures recently.”

The petition is yet to prompt a response from anyone in F1, she added. “No feedback from anyone in motorsport or F1 or from Hamilton. From the latter, it would be marvellous just to meet him.”

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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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59 comments on “I spoke up for Hamilton because he speaks up for others says fan behind Abu Dhabi petition”

  1. Having started the petition almost a year and a half ago, Gordon-Bennett was taken by surprise when it began to rapidly amass signatures in recent weeks.

    I wonder what he said :)

    1. Very good

      1. many thanks @redearedrabbit – I was beginning to think no-one got it!

        1. It definitely deserved more love

        2. Well, if you give such detailed info about what you meant, I’m sure it’ll keep being a secret for you 2!

        3. a secret beween you 2*

  2. I think the result is best left as is, if we start overturning results of previous seasons where does it end. Massa wins 2008 because the Singapore result should be invalidated due to Crashgate. Damon Hill wins 1994 because Schumacher intentionally punted him out at the final race after receiving terminal damage on his car to win the championship. Prost wins 1990 because Senna should have been disqualified from the season for intentionally causing a high speed accident at Suzuka on the first corner to guarantee the championship win. Senna wins 1989 because he was wrongfully disqualified for re-joining the track in an incorrect manner at Suzuka. Lauda wins 1976 because the Japanese Grand Prix should have never been run in the monsoon rain conditions which occured.
    As in any sport the referee’s call on the day needs to be respected, even if it is arguably wrong in retrospect.

    1. @RatSack Massa has nothing on 2008, especially when the FIA stole Hamilton’s Spa win and gave that to Massa. Have you actually seen the 2008 season before you talk ? I know for sure not, otherwise you wouldn’t had mentioned it.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        19th April 2023, 12:10

        @noname – Massa has exactly the same claim to the 2008 title as Hamilton has to 2021. None.

        1. Hamilton has a bigger claim to the 2021 title than the fraud in the record books does.

          1. If there was any fraud committed in that race, it was by Masi. Can’t blame Redbull for arguing their case as it was within the rules for them to do so, and certainly can’t blame Verstappen for taking the opportunity and performing a legal pass on the circuit to win the race.

          2. No but the very fact he took it under such conditions?

            I have seen and participated in European gearbox kart races where people had more integrity regardless of their ‘right’

            He had no business winning that race. None. Electing to do so says it all.

          3. DRG, and hamilton had no business winning that title, abu dhabi was not the right result for the race but it was for the title, go back to baku, imola, hungary etc.

        2. Massa at best will have the actors of Crashgate DSQ. The race wont ever be off the books, as it affects all the other teams as well. So if they DSQ Renault and even ALO from that result or even from the entire years championship, HAM still wins and now by more than just one point. The Massa story is half baked by the media to create controversy that generates clicks. But if you do the math, which for sure Massa has, that goes no where. AD, its a more clear cut with FIA already admitting some of the wrong doing. Just to be clear they are not even in the same realm of possibilities, even though, we all know that FIA has already pick-up their new posterchild!

      2. You seem to have missed the point of what I was saying, leave 2008 and every other season as is because bad ref calls get made, possibly like in Spa 2008 (I remember thinking it was BS at the time watching that race but I would have to go back and review it to be certain).

      3. Hi Lewis fan

    2. There is no logic behind voiding the entire Singapore GP. A participant cheated, so the participant should be disqualified.

      1. The cheating participant got a DNF so a disquialification changes nothing

    3. José Lopes da Silva
      19th April 2023, 20:21

      Don’t forget Carlos Reutemann, which 1981 title was mentioned recently.

    4. Hill doesn’t deserve 1994, schumacher was unfairly banned for 4 races and would’ve dominated the season with a regular 1 race ban.

      1. Hill didn’t win the 1994 WDC…

  3. They could erase that whole race, nothing would change. Fans are fans, she wouldn’t do the same if those two drivers had reversed positions. For that fact alone I don’t care about their complaints. As for signatures, I’m sure “the other side” could collect similar or higher number to overturn this overturn. And where does it end… Fans of both Hamilton and Verstappen are good for F1 for numerous reasons, but I do prefer watching them on mute; like most fans of individual athletes or teams.

    1. Someone needs to open a petition pro Max. I’ll sign for sure. In some races that year, Hamilton deserved some penalties too. Max, 2021 Champion, that’s it.

  4. Well if this petition is successful (which it wont be) and Massa’s petition is also successful, I will start one about Merc rigging the game with the FIA IN 2011 when setting the new engine rules in favour of Merc who had already been developing the hybrid v6 since 2010 having a 3 year head start on all the other teams (hence why it took 8 years for everyone else to catch up), and threatening to leave the sport if the regulations weren’t changed thereby holding the sport to ransom.
    2008 champion – Massa
    2009 – Button
    2010 – Vettel
    2011 – Vettel
    2012 – Vettel
    2013 – Vettel
    2014 – Ricciardo
    2015 – Vettel
    2016 – Ricciardo
    2017 – Vettel
    2018 – Vettel
    2019 – Verstappen
    2020 – Verstappen
    2021 – Hamilton
    2022 – Verstappen

    There we go…… I have fixed it for everyone. Now if we can all go back to living in reality that would be great :0)

    1. Thanks for pointing out how useless this whole thing is.

    2. Let’s vote for this one, but we need another one wiggling Alonso to 15x champ.

    3. While you’re at it: can you appoint the GOAT as well? :)

      1. There is no GOAT as far as I am concerned, and its very subjective anyway to have that kind of conversation. But if I had a gun pointed at my head there would be 3 that share that title, and that would be Fangio, Clark and Senna.

        1. Of course…

          Who knew?

        2. Abies de Wet
          20th April 2023, 9:32

          Spot On

    4. Abies de Wet
      20th April 2023, 9:31

      Well Said Sir…

    5. Hamilton 1 time champion, damn, that’s a big fall!

      1. That’s the difference between 1 of 7. It is mostly coincidence and circumstances.

  5. If this result can be changed then arguably any result can be changed and bringing attention to a petition that the FIA will not acknowledge lends credibility to it. Mercedes brought lawyers to Abu Dhabi and still decided not to challenge it – ultimately the rules were down to the race director’s discretion at the time and he did what he felt was right. We can debate whether that was right or wrong to the end of time but the result is immutable, and even if Abu Dhabi was to be deleted Verstappen still wins on countback. So the petition isn’t to change the result out of fairness or justice; it’s to delete that one lap, that one choice to change a loss for one driver to a win for the other. I strongly feel this shouldn’t be an article, and will serve nothing but to stoke further division and partisanship.

    1. I strongly feel this shouldn’t be an article, and will serve nothing but to stoke further division and partisanship.

      We are in a ridiculous 4-week break in the 2023 Formula 1 season.

      Which I’m sure doesn’t have a thing to do with anything.

  6. Even if it was possible to reconstruct the Abu Dhabi GP on a counterfactual basis, the most likely outcome if all cars had been allowed to unlap themselves is that Verstappen would still have overtaken Hamilton on the final lap and won anyway.

    1. This is simply untrue. If all cars unlap themselves and the safety car does its mandatory extra lap, then the race invariably ends under safety car. Had the rules been followed, 100% guaranteed Hamilton is the champion. That is why people are upset. If Max had actually won it on merit, then there would be salt but we’d not be complaining about it nearly 500 days later. The fact is, the rules were broken and that is the only reason Max has his name on the title.

      1. No, the ONLY reason Max has his name on that title is because Lewis left the door wide open at the hairpin on the last lap, rather than defending the corner like his life depended on it, like Sergio did earlier in that same race against Lewis himself. Unfortunately Lewis’s head had already dropped (as it does a lot of the time when things dont go his way) when he was told Max was on new tyres. Yes the rules were ‘bent’ the lap before to get the race to finish under green flag in the name of ‘entertainment’, but lets not forget Lewis was in the lead when that last lap started.

        1. No. The only reason Max has his name on the title is, like I said, because the rules were broken. Thats it. Thats the only reason.

          1. SIR Lewis should’ve tried harder the rest of that year to make sure Sir Max didn’t take the WC

            Just like he should have performed beter last year to make sure Russell didnt outperform him

            But… he didnt

          2. petebaldwin (@)
            19th April 2023, 18:01

            You can put it in bold all you like b it that doesn’t make you any less wrong.

            Max is the champion because over the whole year, he scored more points. If Hamilton hadn’t screwed up in Baku, the final lap at Abu Dhabi would have been meaningless, for example.

        2. That has been said before, but is just wrong. Hamilton is a much better racer than armchair experts. He knowingly left the door open at the chicane – not hairpin – after which there is a second long straight with DRS. That was the only way he could get a chance at repassing back, as has been exemplified by numerous instances on that track. He got a much better exit from the chicane than Verstappen, but it wasn’t enough because of, well, the tire difference.

          1. You can say it as much as you like, it will never be true. What I wrote, however, will remain reality. Your denial of that is pure delusion. Nothing more, nothing less.

          2. Just to make it clear as it seems that the interface can be a bit confusing, I was replying to Gubstar, not to Lambert, with whom I agree.

          3. Says enough about lambert that he said you’re in denial despite you agreeing with him, some people don’t even read comments.

      2. The FIA report found that the “extra lap” for the safety car was not required, according to the regulations as they were written at the time. There was a contradiction in the written safety car procedure that meant that it was legitimate to withdraw the safety car on the same lap the unlapping procedure took place. The only error made at Abu Dhabi was the failure to allow all cars to unlap themselves.

        People are upset because they wanted Hamilton to win, that’s all.

    2. @red-andy Had Mercedes known that what happened was a possibility they may have brought Hamilton in and put him on tyres that gave him a fighting chance.

      This petition is nonsense by the way, what’s done is done. But you can’t say how Mercedes would have reacted had they thought there was a very good chance that Verstappen would have been right behind him on fresh soft tyres with a racing lap left. As the rules were as per everyone’s understanding, the more likely outcome was either red flag or race ending under the safety car or race restarting with lapped cars remaining in place, therefore keeping track position was on balance the right call for Mercedes at the time.

      Even if unlapping all cars and safety car in the same lap was an option known by all parties, then we still can’t say with certainty what would have happened on the restart. With Sainz right behind, Verstappen may have taken a different line at the restart or acted differently which may have given Hamilton enough breathing space to defend, we just don’t know.

      The fact of the matter is procedure wasn’t followed. It is therefore perfectly legitimate for F1 fans to be upset about how that race ended without being an ardent supporter of either of the two main drivers.

      1. Proesterchen_nli
        20th April 2023, 10:33

        Had Mercedes known that what happened was a possibility they may have brought Hamilton in and put him on tyres

        Not a chance. They had the lead car and needed to win the race. They were always going to be sitting ducks under the circumstances because Lewis wasn’t ahead by enough to be able to afford to stop without losing position.

  7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    19th April 2023, 13:26

    @proesterchen Lewis drove a spectacular race and deserved to win that race and the championship. It was a clinic.

  8. You can’t rewrite history. You can’t give Hamilton the win, because he didn’t win the Abu Dhabi GP 2021. The only way to give Hamilton his (deserved) win is to demote or disqualify Verstappen for that race, which makes no sense and has no legal ground. What makes more sense is to scrap the race from the history books altogether, but Verstappen will still be world champion of 2021. Sainz however will lose a place in the championship so he will object to scrapping Abu Dhabi 2021. It will be a mess.

    1. They should have implemented a penalty for overtaking under safety car, or later done the right thing and issued a points penalty for going over the cost cap.. there were plenty of things the FIA could have done to bring about justice, and they chose not to, because it was a fix. It was intentional. It was corruption.

      1. Nobody overtook under the safety car.

        1. Stop talking sense with your lowly facts!

          As if those mattered to anyone wanting to proclaim a counterfactual.

  9. Unless you have just recently joined us from an alternate universe, Lewis Hamilton not being the winner of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a simple statement of fact.

  10. I’ll put this in the same category as Massa trying to scrap the singapore grand prix result from 2008.

    I do get that people percieve these things as being “unfair” .

    But I would like to stress that “fans” are not a party in this. You kught have an oppinion. But the result was protested, the protest was denied according to the FIA regulations.

    End of story. The hostory of racing is full of “unfair” seeming stories. Look at Parnell Jones winning the Indy 500 despite his car leaking oil like crazy, all bcs the stewards refused to black flagg him because that would mean Jim Clark , a britt , winning “the great American Race”.

    As a fan you are a consumer of the product that is Formula 1. You don’t like the product? Go watch motoGP. How many people disagree with red cards and yellow cards in a football match. No petition in the world is gonna overturn such a descision.

    Why? Bcs the governing body doens’t care and more importantly, too mcuh money has already been won and spend on the result as it stands.

    A petition like this is in my humble oppinion. Fool’s errand.

    1. Not to mention abu dhabi isn’t the only unfair thing that happened in the 2021 season and most were against verstappen, and like I said before, calculating the various luck swings, luck still owes verstappen some points in 2021, even after abu dhabi.

  11. Maybe this is a result of the Drive to Survive viewers having watched the 2021 Abu Dhabi episode and basically saying “that’s not right”. Wouldn’t it be great if the Drive to Survive crowd are the ones who are the most vocal/militant and they are the ones to cause the most grief for Liberty and the FIA?

  12. If Hamilton hadn’t screwed up in Baku,

    Ah, funny that you mention Baku @petebaldwin – it’s the race where Pirelli discovered that RBR were running on tyres that were not inflated to pressures within the manufacturers defined limits. Quite how many of the prior races they had been doing the same is a matter of debate.

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