Lewis Hamilton said on his radio team towards the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that the race was ‘manipulated’. The Mercedes driver showed humility in the defeat after the race and congratulated Verstappen on the title and praised his team, but in the heat of battle when the race was over and it became clear he had lost the title, he told radio that the race was 'manipulated'
. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ended controversially. Mercedes protested against the decisions of race director Michael Masi to let only 5 drivers who were between Hamilton and Verstappen return to the same lap with the leaders and let the race end in normal racing conditions.
Verstappen and Red Bull took great advantage of that. The Dutchman switched to soft tires, while Mercedes left Hamilton on the track on over 40 laps of old hard tires. When the safety car left the track in the last lap, Verstappen attacked and overtook Hamilton to win the race and win the title.
Mercedes' protests were rejected, but an appeal was lodged against the rejection of the protest, which referred to Masi's decisions about the safety car. Mercedes came to Abu Dhabi ‘armed’ with lawyers — the same lawyers who last year, for example, ‘saved’ Manchester City from UEFA’s ban from competing in the Champions League.
Off the track fight
They were ready to fight off the track, although in their statements they constantly emphasized that they wanted the title to be decided on the track — it was decided, but not in their favor. Although Hamilton showed humility in interviews after the race and congratulated his rival, he said on the radio that the race had been manipulated.
"This is getting manipulated, man" Hamilton said, to which his racing engineer Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington replied, “I’m speechless Lewis, I’m absolutely speechless”. There was silence on Hamilton’s side.
Mercedes and Hamilton did not publicly comment on the events in the last lap of the race. In his statements after getting out of the car when the first 3 drivers were interviewed, Hamilton did not refer to the situation, and later did not attend the press conference after the race, although the first three drivers must attend the official press conference.
Congratulating Max and Red Bull, he said Mercedes ‘did its best’. Mercedes has decided that it is better not to comment until the ‘passions’ calm down a bit and until they ‘weigh’ their options. They feel that an unjustice have been done(which is why they decided to protest and appeal)