Formula 1 saw one of the fiercest rivalries in the modern era between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s max Verstappen. The two drivers battled very closely for the championship title, which often ended in controversial incidences throughout the season. Lewis and Max made contact on several occasions and often ended by taking each other out of the race. They collided with each other twice in Silverstone and Monza. Moreover, a strategic hit during the Saudi Arabian GP resulted in Hamilton losing his car’s front wing. The drivers’ championship battle was so close that the duo reached Abu Dhabi for the final race with equal points.
The Mercedes driver was quick off the blocks as he took the lead and remained on course to win a record eighth world championship. However, the controversial drama during the final few laps, including former race director Michael Masi, cost the Briton. Lewis was leading the race when Nicolas Latifi’s crash triggered the safety car. During the safety car period, Masi allowed the lapped cars between Hamilton and Max to unlap themselves. The move provided the Dutchman with an advantage.
Being on the fresher tyres, Verstappen managed to overtake Lewis in the last lap to win his maiden F1 world championship. The shocking end to the 2021 championship led to a great deal of drama, resulting in Michael Masi getting sacked by the FIA. The F1 governing body accepted that Masi made a decision that was not according to the rules. However, Verstappen was still handed the world championship title, causing deep pain to Hamilton, Toto Wolff, and the whole Mercedes team. Recently, the Mercedes boss revealed that accepting the championship loss in the way it transpired was a tough pill to swallow.
Mercedes’ Toto Wolff Traumatized By The Controversial 2022 Championship Loss
Talking to Autotrader, the Mercedes team principal revealed that the controversial finish haunts him to date. He admitted to making peace with Verstappen‘s win and reckoned the Dutchman completely deserved it. Toto revealed that he thinks about the disappointing Abu Dhabi GP every day, even nine months after the incident.
However, Toto has made peace with Max’s win because he was a deserved champion. He was disappointed by how it all panned out in terms of sporting fairness and the values around it. Wolff added, “This is what provides my fundamental love for the sport. And then that was kicked with the feet on that particular day.”