Advertisement

Lewis Hamilton speaks out on Abu Dhabi 2021 F1 finale: ‘Was I robbed? Obviously’

Lewis Hamiton insists he was “obviously robbed” of an eighth Formula 1 world championship in 2021 in Abu Dhabi – but admits he is now “at peace with it.”

The Mercedes driver was vying for the 2021 championship with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with the title going down to a winner-takes-all final race after a memorable and dramatic season.

The season-finale did not disappoint, with Verstappen overtaking Hamilton on the final lap to snatch what would have been a record-breaking eighth title away from the Brit, but only after a contentious decision from FIA race director Michael Masi to restart the race a lap early following a safety car period, as well as a botched lapped cars procedure.

Hamilton has not won a race since, while Verstappen has won two more championships and is the overwhelming favourite to make it four-in-a-row this year.

Now, over two years on, Hamilton opened up on that finale in a wide-ranging interview with GQ, where he credits his father Anthony with helping getting him through the difficult scenario in the immediate moments after the race.

“Was I robbed? Obviously. I mean, you know the story,” Hamilton said.

“But I think what was really beautiful in that moment, which I take away from it, was my dad was with me. And we’d gone through this huge rollercoaster of life together, ups and downs.

“And the day that it hurt the most, he was there, and the way he raised me was to always stand up, keep your head high. And I obviously went to congratulate Max, and not realising the impact that that would have, but also I was really conscious of, like, there’s a mini-me watching. This is the defining moment of my life.

“And I think it really was. I felt it. I didn’t know how it was going to be perceived. I hadn’t, like, visualised it. But I was definitely conscious of: these next 50 metres that I walk is where I fall to the ground and die, or I rise up.

Lewis Hamilton missed out on an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi in 2021 (AP)
Lewis Hamilton missed out on an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi in 2021 (AP)

“If I see a clip of it [Abu Dhabi], I still feel it. But I’m at peace with it.”

Masi was sacked as race director a matter of months later, with an FIA investigation later admitting “human error” played a part in the race finale.

Following two difficult seasons with Mercedes, Hamilton will move to Ferrari next year in a stunning move which will pair F1’s most famous driver with the sport’s most illustrious team.

The 39-year-old has started this season poorly, most recently retiring from the Australian Grand Prix, and is already 43 points behind championship leader Verstappen.

The next race of the 2024 season takes place at Suzuka in Japan this weekend.