Lewis Hamilton’s brother has said the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix were a “disgrace” after the seven-time world champion lost out on the title to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season.
Verstappen won his maiden Formula One championship after benefitting from a dramatic late safety car at the Yas Marina Circuit. Mercedes were furious after Verstappen was allowed to position himself behind Hamilton when five lapped cars were told to go past the safety car.
Having pitted for a fresh set of soft tyres, Verstappen then had the advantage in the final-lap sprint for the line and executed the vital move down the inside of Hamilton to get past his title rival.
Race director Michael Masi’s handling of the safety car incident was subject to a protest from Mercedes, which was later dismissed by stewards as Verstappen was eventually confirmed as the sport’s newest champion.
In a post on Instagram, however, Nicolas Hamilton said his brother was the “THE TRUE CHAMPION” and that he had been “let down” by the FIA during the controversial end to the season-deciding race.
Hamilton was magnanimous in defeat after the race, congratulating Verstappen on his championship, but a newly-released radio message of the 36-year-old shows him complaining of the result being “manipulated”.
“The FIA broke their own rules, which is a disgrace to our whole sport,” Nicolas Hamilton posted. “Nevertheless, regardless of being mistreated today, the Hamilton’s were humble in defeat.
“My father [Anthony], the guy who raised us, congratulating Max & his father Jos. People can say what they like, but my father’s gesture proves all of the doubters & haters wrong & shows who we are as ‘The Hamiltons’.
“Proving people wrong is in our DNA, which Lewis does on a daily basis. With utter professionalism & decency in defeat, even though we all know, that he was let down by the sport that he has given so much to. Congratulations to Max for such a fantastic season from him.”
Mercedes have lodged a notice of intention of appeal, which gives the team until Thursday to decide whether they wish to pursue their protest further in the courts.
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