Eight months later, Toto Wolff is still living with the same trauma. In an interview with Motorsport.com, the Mercedes team boss admitted that he still thinks “every day” about the last Formula 1 Grand Prix of the 2021 season, which saw Max Verstappen take the world championship crown from Lewis Hamilton in a crazy finish.
It was eight months ago, but nobody has forgotten, especially Mercedes. During the last Grand Prix of the F1 season, in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton let the title slip from his grasp against Max Verstappen, in bizarre and much commented upon circumstances. Asked to reflect on this crazy episode, Toto Wolff admitted that he still thinks about it every day.
Despite a tricky 2022 season, during which all the members of the team are racking their brains to try to get back on top, the final episode that consecrated Max Verstappen to the detriment of Lewis Hamilton is still in everyone’s head.
The 2021 season will go down in the annals of Formula 1. And for good reason, after a breathtaking battle, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen went into Abu Dhabi, the last Grand Prix of the season, tied on points.
Therefore, whoever finished ahead of the other would win the world title. And quickly, the Mercedes took the upper hand allowing the British driver to quietly drive towards an eighth title, breaking Michael Schumacher’s record.
The Dutchman could not do anything on a regular basis. But this GP will go down in sporting legend.
With five laps to go, Nicholas Latifi smashed his Williams into the wall, causing the safety car to come out. Max Verstappen, who had absolutely nothing to lose, returned to the pits to put on soft tyres in the hope that the race would be restarted.
And so it was. With one lap to go, the race directors decided to allow the lapped drivers between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to split. This was an unprecedented decision, as the rule stipulates that all drivers must take their laps back. But in this case, the race could not have been restarted but for an unwritten agreement between Masi and the team bosses ahead of the race, that the championship must end on a green flag.
The seven-time world champion could therefore do nothing and was swallowed up by Max Verstappen with much better tyres. Despite the controversy that lasted for several weeks, the Dutchman did win his first title.
And that is always difficult to digest. In an interview with Motorsport.com, Toto Wolff admits that this episode has not been forgotten.
“I think about it every day. But I am at peace with the fact that Max won the championship, because he is a deserving champion. [About] the way things went, I think I have values related to fairness, especially sporting fairness,
“That’s what provides my fundamental love for this sport. And on that day, these values were beaten to a pulp,” says the Mercedes boss, who goes on to talk about the major changes that have resulted from this controversy.
Indeed, Mohammed Ben Sulayem was appointed president of the FIA to replace Jean Todt and one of his first decisions was to separate himself from Michael Masi, F1 race director, and therefore at the origin of the choices that created the controversy.
“I think Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the way he hires and recruits, shows me the direction to follow. Each personality has its own particularities,
“And I think the primary objective of being transparent, ensuring good governance and a good framework is what I see happening,
“Will there be obstacles on the way, because Mohammed’s organisation has to be put in place and everyone has to find their role? Yes, there will be. But I’m happy with the way things are going. They are open-minded,
“They don’t have strong opinions. For me they are transparent, honest and have integrity”, adds Toto Wolff.
A few days ago, Lewis Hamilton spoke about the pain he felt after seeing the eighth title of his career slip away.
“I don’t know if I can really put into words how I felt. I remember sitting there just in disbelief. And realising that I have to unbuckle my belts, I have to get out of this, I have to get out of this thing and I have to find the strength,
“I had no strength. And that was one of the most difficult moments, I would say, that I’ve had in a long, long time. Of course I asked myself if I wanted to continue. I’m still on a mission, I still love driving, I’m still challenged,” the Mercedes driver told Vanity Fair.
MORE F1: Max Verstappen reveals his biggest problem
Whiney Wolff, you should look into the Formula One History book for other controversial races for the championship. Remember a good leader always looks forward! The past has passed Whiney.
Shut up young man and go to bed. How dare you compare you idleness to Wolff who’s overseen MB take seven straight championships consecutively. We f1 fans saw what happened. But toxic fans like yourself only take what you want without putting the desired effort into it. Redbull lost and knew that it was over. Max knows the title was stolen. Period.
It looks as if this ‘old man’ has lost his mind due to dementia. He does not realize that he is not the only one and that many other F1 fans have also been watching. Except for some rabid fans of LH, WW (Whiney Wolff) and MB, all neutral fans are disgusted with the cheating, dishonesty and evil of these fellows.
There has been blatant favouritism from Masi towards LH and Wolff. If LH had been told to give back the place after gaining an advantage in Abu Dhabi, the only fair and just action, the story would have been different. The too well-known Silverstone atrocity need not be repeated here, not to mention the cheating with illegal engine. As Ferrari said, MB have no sense of digity to win by fair means.
Now we know who needs to shut up and go to bed. But don’t pee in it!
And then you don’t even mention the fact that MB used up a ridicioulous amount of engines to even get equal with Max. Ignoring completely the ‘spirit of the rules’ that tries to limit the amount of engines (and money) a team can use.
The same ‘spirit of the rules’ they claim Ferrari en RB violate, with a smart design of the floor.
MB are a couple of hypocrites, history has never seen before
The real fact must be told.
As a team leader who has the bigger picture, Toto should immediately remind Lewis defend hard at turns 5,6 & 9 just for 1 last final lap. Defend hard means placing his 44 car in a position that car 33 can’t overtake. Just like Checo defended against LH44, on older tyres too for more than a lap earlier on.
But LH44 immediately left a bus wide gap at turn 5. Toto failed to do his job, was busy talking during the most crucial, critical & precious moments that deny LH44 his 8th title. So whose fault was it really? Don’t blame others when it’s your fault.
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Let’s be honest, it should have never come down the final race to decide the world championship to begin with. If the FIA was actually consistent in ruling, Verstappen would have been world champion before the Abu Dhabi race. People want to ignore all the Mercedes favoritism the FIA handed out over the course of the 2021 season that enabled Mercedes to catch back up in points. Hamilton wasn’t robbed so much as Verstappen was ultimately given what was rightfully his to begin with.
In the long run you will have to continue with call LH Sr Lewis Hamilton, He will always be the biggest money maker in F1, he will run with the billionaires, the politicians and power structure around the world. He as made is mark. Only one are two sport person around the world can step in his shoes. In the minds of were it counts, his 8th title was robbed from him.
Yes. He runs with billionaires and politicians. That’s exactly what he does in stead of racing. LH is only interested in the attention and admiration. The glitter and the glamour. The podium to ventilate his moral superiority. He is addicted to it. The racing is only the tool that gave him all that thanks to the fastest car. Without that car, his only noticeable aspect would be his skincolor.
Sounds a tad racist … no it’s racist
Perception is in the eye of the beholder …
Shame on you with your dumb comments. Jealousy makes you an idiot. Hating Sir Lewis is not going to make any difference, wake up this is F1
One day late in his career,he’s going to feel bad about that race!!