By Carol M. Creasey
It has been more than a week since Sir Lewis Hamilton was robbed of his eighth world title and, like many others, I am still totally in shock. I am not going to mince my words, he was robbed!
One has to ask why, after Christian Horner of Red Bull asked for ‘one more lap’, race director Michael Masi went against the rules and regulations that govern the use of the Safety Car and created the situation that provided that exact one lap? And why didn’t the FIA intervene to stop it from happening? Masi even got just the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen out of the way so that Max could easily come through. Very strange indeed.
Mercedes have welcomed the news that there is going to be an inquiry into Abu Dhabi by the FIA to make sure that a situation like this will never occur again, but it should never have happened in the first place. It is not acceptable to make up the rules, and as race director, Masi should know that.
It has been a week of conflicting emotions for Sir Lewis, firstly the devastation of having his win taken away from him, but then on Wednesday he was knighted by Prince Charles at Windsor Castle. The euphoria of receiving that honour brought a smile back to his face. Then on Friday he went back to the factory to thank his team for their support, and also to say goodbye to Valtteri Bottas, his team-mate since 2017. He has spoken glowingly of Bottas, referring to him as the best team-mate he has ever had.
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Now rumours have surfaced that Lewis might retire after this unsavoury season, and although it is understandable that he could feel this way, it would be such a loss to Formula One. Red Bull fans are saying that Max deserves the championship. Really? Lewis has battled all season with a slower car, and not only that, he has shown extreme patience towards Verstappen every time he attempted one of his reckless and questionable overtaking or defending manoeuvres. I cannot see any other driver on the grid showing him the same patience next year.
Many people have said they will switch off if the Briton is not on the grid next year, and at the SPOTY awards, Gary Lineker referred to what a great year it had been until the last lap of the race, which was clearly not fair. And he is not the only one, there is an unease amongst Formula One fans about this championship, that it just doesn’t seem right. Many celebrities and pundits have waded in as well to state that.
Sir Lewis you have always been a fighter, and you still have unfinished business. Please come back next year, all your fans are behind you willing you to get your record-breaking eighth title. And just as a footnote, I have seen many comments online about your classy response to Max, congratulating him and his father on the championship. I am sure your heart must have been breaking when you spoke those words, but your gentlemanly attitude has earned you even more fans.
In the end, I wish you Merry Christmas Sir Lewis, and may 2022 bring you even more accolades!
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