Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton reacts after he’s pipped to the F1 World Championship by Max Verstappen after an enthralling final showdown in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton was left despondent after coming up short to Max Verstappen in an enthralling shootout for the Formula One world title.
Both Verstappen and Hamilton were locked on 369.5 points apiece ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Verstappen started the crunch race in pole position but Hamilton nudged himself into the lead after making a dream start.
The Englishman looked to be on course to claim a record-breaking eighth F1 title – before a stunning late turnaround saw Hamilton pipped by his rival.
And Hamilton reacted after he was denied a record-breaking eight title win.
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Hamilton told Sky Sports: “Firstly, congratulations to Max and to his team.
“I think we did an amazing job this year. My team, everyone back at the factory, have worked so hard this whole year, it’s been the most difficult of seasons. I’m so proud of them and I’m so grateful to be a part of the journey with them.
“This last part of the season we gave it absolutely everything and never gave up.”
The result left Mercedes stunned after a late safety car led to a pulsating finale.
“I’m just speechless Lewis, absolutely speechless,” Hamilton’s engineer, Peter Bonnington told Hamilton.
And Ted Kravitz shed some light on Mercedes’ unhappiness at the race’s conclusion.
“The feeling at Mercedes is ‘hang on, there seems to be an abuse of the rules here,” Kravitz said.
“The rules have not been followed – why were only five cars allowed to unlap themselves and then the race restarted?’
Sky Sports F1)
“That’s the point isn’t it. Mercedes think the process was not followed here properly, the way it always has been with lapped cars being able to unlap themselves. Only five were, not the rest of them, and then the race was restarted.
“That’s what they don’t think was fair.”
Verstappen’s dramatic win left Red Bull chief Christian Worner ecstatic as he declared on the radio: “We needed a bit of luck and we got it. We love you. We ****ing love you.”
Verstappen, who clinched his first ever world title emotionally replied: “This is unbelievable guys! Can we do this for another 10-15 years together?”