Lewis Hamilton has called on the FIA to release the findings of their report into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to everyone, to ensure Formula One can ‘move forwards in a positive light’. The 2021 season, which drew record television viewer figures, such was the drama between title rivals Hamilton and Max Verstappen, ended in hugely controversial circumstances. Race director Michael Masi, who has since been sacked,
was heavily criticised for his handling of the safety car in the final laps of the season finale in December at the Yas Marina circuit. With five cars between race leader Hamilton and Verstappen, who was on fresher tyres, it appeared the Brit was heading for an eighth world title. But Masi’s calls, telling the five cars to overtake the safety car, created a scenario that heavily favoured Verstappen to overtake his rival, which he did, and claim the world title in the most dramatic fashion.
Hamilton, who has himself not yet read the FIA inquiry findings, wants ‘everyone’ associated with the sport to pore over it to understand what happened in Abu Dhabi. ‘I’ve not seen it. I didn’t think it was out yet,’ Hamilton told reporters when asked about the FIA’s investigation. ‘I’m excited to see the results from that report. I think hopefully everyone will get to see it, and to have perhaps a better understanding of everything.
I think ultimately, like everything, it’s down to understanding where we’ve been, so we can move forwards in a positive light.’ While the headline news is that Masi has been axed, the full report will be presented to the World Motor Sport Council on March 18, just days before the season-opening race in Bahrain. Hamilton is gunning for revenge this year after staying quiet for much of the winter, leading some to speculate over whether he would retire.
This season is shaping up to be another fight full of drama between the new champion and the British star, who is gunning for an eighth title to overtake Michael Schumacher’s record. I am a determined person and I like to think that while moments like this might define other people’s careers, I refuse to let this define mine, so I have focused on being the best I can be and coming back stronger,’ Hamilton said last week.
If you think what you saw at the end of last year was my best, wait until you see this year.’ The seven-time world champion dominated the final race of last season until the late, fateful moment at which the safety car was withdrawn ‘It was obviously a difficult time for me,’ admitted Hamilton, whose coping mechanism in the off-season saw him withdraw from social media for a long time. I just unplugged, switched off.
I had my whole family around me, a rare occasion when we were all together. It took time to digest what happened and it is still difficult to fully understand everything, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I put my focus into training, getting healthy and enjoying the time off. At the end of a season, the question is whether you are willing to commit the time and effort that it takes to be a world champion. A lot of people underestimate what that requires.
Do you want to sacrifice the time? And punch at the weight you need to? That is a normal mental process for me but this one was compounded by a significant factor. And in the sport I have loved my whole life there was a moment when I lost a little bit of faith.’