Lewis Hamilton’s incredible insight into how the Abu Dhabi GP went was revealed recently on UK TV. More than seven months after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final round of the 2021 Formula 1 season, where he lost the world title on the final lap to Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton admits he has not yet come to terms with the controversial race but says it made him stronger.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the 22nd and final round of the 2021 Formula One season, took place on 17th December 2021. It was to be an exceptional race, as it was the epilogue to the battle for the world championship between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who arrived in the United Arab Emirates with the same number of points.
Starting from second on the grid, Lewis Hamilton got off to a better start than Max Verstappen and took the lead from the first corner. Throughout the race, the Briton set a hellish pace that the Dutchman was unable to follow. With a gap of more than 12 seconds between the two men, the race was turned upside down with only five laps to go. Nicholas Latifi’s Williams lost control of his car at turn 14 and hit the safety rail.
The crash inevitably led to the Canadian’s retirement, but also to the intervention of the safety car. Max Verstappen took advantage of the neutralisation of the race to put on new tyres in the pits, unlike Lewis Hamilton, who remained on the track on very worn tyres.
While the Grand Prix was due to finish under the safety car, i.e. without the drivers being allowed to overtake each other, race director Michael Masi decided to play loose with the ruling as he was attempting to obey the agreement between all teams ahead of the GP that the race must finish under green flag conditions if possible, and restarted the race for a single lap finale.
Unable to resist Verstappen’s fresh tyres, Lewis Hamilton was passed by the Dutchman in the final corners of the Yas Marina circuit, and saw his eighth world championship title slip away, despite having dominated the entire race. The unexpected decision regarding the race direction changed everything in Hamilton’s quest for the world title. An act considered an injustice by ‘King Lewis’, who remained silent for many weeks after that evening.
Invited by Channel 4 Sport to speak about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021, Lewis Hamilton confided that he had still not digested its outcome:
“Abu Dhabi will always remain with me,” said Hamilton.
“When you work very hard in a certain way and it ends like that it can be a traumatic experience so I think it will stay with me. I would say it made me stronger and I remembered the strength I already had in me. It’s not something I think about all the time to be honest,
“I’m one of those people who look forward. I’m grateful because I love my job, I love this sport and I feel supported in this sport. And I’m also happy to see the changes that are starting to happen gradually.”