Jean Todt: “Verstappen gets what he deserves” – The FIA president sought to avoid yet another controversy on Thursday evening, saying the focus should be on Verstappen’s title celebration rather than Lewis Hamilton’s absence from the FIA awards ceremony.
FIA president Jean Todt insisted that the focus should be on celebrating Max Verstappen’s title win on Thursday night, rather than trying to get into any controversy over Lewis Hamilton’s absence from the FIA Awards ceremony.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was conspicuous by his absence from the FIA awards ceremony in Paris on Thursday (he refused to attend after the controversial Abu Dhabi GP).
But as a finalist in the 2021 F1 world championship (he finished second), Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is obliged to attend the FIA’s year-end awards ceremony or face a sanction from the governing body.
Asked for his thoughts on Lewis Hamilton’s absence on Thursday night, Jean Todt – who was in his last gala as FIA president – insisted he did not want the event to be marred by the negative situation:
“I think tonight we should be celebrating, rather than trying to get into any controversy. There’s no point. What would that accomplish? In a way I’m sorry, because Mercedes should have a lot more rewards, because to have eight constructors’ titles is unique,” said Jean Todt.
“But this young guy [Max Verstappen] has done a great job, and that’s what we should focus on, rather than saying ‘Are we going to punish Hamilton because he’s not coming?”
Returning to the 2021 world champion, Jean Todt insisted the Red Bull driver deserved his world title this year, and while he was lucky in the final race of the year, the FIA president recalled that the Dutchman was far less fortunate in other races of the season:
“I think he gets what he deserves, he is most deserved. He had a great season. It’s human, you know, to focus on the last lap. It’s true that he was very lucky in the last lap.
“But you should see the whole season. Was he lucky at Silverstone? Was he lucky in Azerbaijan? Was he lucky in Budapest? He wasn’t [lucky], you know.”