Verstappen says he “felt” for Hamilton after the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Max Verstappen says he “felt” for Lewis Hamilton after he lost the 2021 title on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and adds he “always respected him”.

At the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton lost the title fight to Max Verstappen, after race director Michael Masi disregarded the rules that govern the use of the safety car.

This allowed Max to overtake Lewis at Turn 5 on the final lap of the race, on softer and much fresher tyres.

Ahead of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in a talk with Sky Sports, Max Verstappen said he “felt” for Lewis for the way he lost the title.

“Of course, it was all looking great [for Lewis],” the Dutch driver said.

“And something like that happens… it is tough. You know, there was always going to be one winner and one loser.

“If you’re on the losing side, it’s going to be bad no matter what. And it also doesn’t matter how, if you lose, you lose. And that it’s just terrible when you’re so close, right?

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“The only thing I did say to myself at the time was, he has seven world championships. And he has also won one where it looked like he was losing out, and then in the last corner, he didn’t [referencing the 2008 Brazilian GP].

“So I hope that he could understand at least a little bit the difference in emotion.

“But yeah, I felt for him and especially, you know, we had our moments when we got together that year, but I always respected him and I think we did have a great battle.

“And also finally, we had two teams fighting for a championship. I really hope that we can appreciate that someday,” Verstappen concluded.

The only problem with Verstappen’s statements is the fact that he still tries to portray the finish of Abu Dhabi as bad luck for Hamilton, when in reality it was the race director’s blatant disregard for the rules that cost him the title.

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