Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton was on his way to win his eighth Driver’s World Championship in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Mercedes had already won the constructor title in 2021. Moreover, Hamilton won the previous race in Saudi Arabia, the penultimate Grand Prix of 2021. However, Max Verstappen was very close to taking the title away from Hamilton in the Driver’s Championship. The championship decider would fall on the final race in Abu Dhabi. Hence, Formula One was heading to an exciting finish in 2021. But what happened in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has become a moment of truth and a turning point in F1 history.
From the next year, in 2022, Verstappen literally started to dominate the grid like never seen before. Even Lewis Hamilton did not dominate a season like Max has been doing since last year. Hamilton was a constant factor in Mercedes’s dominance from 2014 to 2021. But the maximum number of races he won a single season in that period was eleven. On the other hand, Max Verstappen won 15 races last year. In 2023, Verstappen already won ten races. There is a chance he may win all the remaining ten races too, and such has been his dominance in recent times. But even after coming to the mid-season of 2023, it is hard for the Mercedes team to swallow the bitter truth that everything went topsy turvy in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Toto Wolff Cannot Forget The Pain Of The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Recently, in an interview with BBC Radio, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff walked down memory lane, saying that day still stings sometimes. Moreover, what makes it worse is the fact that the rivals stole it from Mercedes and Hamilton. Adding to that, Toto Wolff mentioned that both drivers start with equal points, and the best man with the best car should win. However, the best man with the best car did not win that day. But Toto Wolff appreciated FIA for admitting that it was a mistake.
Albeit, Mercedes’s boss claims that it won’t bring the trophy back home. Lewis Hamilton could have been the only eight-time champion. Moreover, Toto Wolff shows his frustration by mentioning that it is a world where so many terrible things keep happening. Wolff further adds that these things happen due to a lack of honesty and integrity or even humility. Toto Wolff believes he would prefer losing a championship rather than cheating, as it goes totally against his team’s values.
How The Race Director And Red Bull Stole The Eighth Championship From Lewis Hamilton?
As far as the results go, Lewis Hamilton lost the championship to Max Verstappen. The Dutchman became the new F1 Champion. He denied Hamilton of his eighth title. But it was a very controversial race where Verstappen defeated the reigning World Champion. Even today, people talk about the wrong decisions of Michael Masi, race director of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
While the safety car was on track and there was a pause in the race, Masi allowed the other cars that overtook Hamilton in that period to stay up front after the racing resumed. After the race, the governing body deemed it was “human error” on Masi’s part. Later, they sacked the race director. But the record’s book already had the name of a new champion.