January 29, 2022

Beyond Going Long

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Lewis Hamilton robbed his title, and the bitter taste remains

Yesterday 10:20

Max Verstappen won the F1 Championship. For the whole season, he was a little better than Lewis Hamilton, he showed incredible speed, did not make any mistakes and, despite his age, did not succumb to the pressure that Mercedes skillfully applied to him on all fronts.

However, I think it should have gone differently on Sunday. Lewis Hamilton was to have enjoyed the title. However, the commissioners stole it.

We’ve known for a long time that Max Verstappen was a brilliant racer. He has done his best regularly and hasn’t been stopped even by the unlucky moments like the Azerbaijani tire blowout, Silverstone’s withdrawal after his collision with Lewis Hamilton or the Hungaroring accident after Valtteri Bottas’ unlimited foul. He somehow shook himself and stayed in the game until the end.

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However, Lewis Hamilton was also in the match. He honored weekends where Max Verstappen owned a car a little better, and yes, he was lucky at times. At the end of the season, Mercedes suddenly made impressive progress in performance, and Lewis Hamilton took advantage of it. He continued the famous performance in Brazil with victories in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It certainly wasn’t easy, as Max Verstappen defended himself aggressively and often on the edge of the rules.

Both dukes entered the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix final side by side and went on to concede. The Brits went on to perform better, checking the lead, stopping the brakes from Sergio Perez and escaping from Max Verstappen, despite the fact that in the final he had 22 laps older than the tyres. He was better and faster, he did everything right and already held the championship trophy with one hand.

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But in the end, race director Michael Massey did something incomprehensible after Nicholas Latifi’s crash. If he follows the usual procedures, he will not be able to resume the race. After removing the Canadian wreck, he had to put the riders who had lost the entire tour back to the Leader’s Tour and wait to be included at the end of the train. Mercedes adjusted their tactics and left Lewis Hamilton on the track.

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However, after a while, Michael Massey surprisingly announced that the procedure for the rear riders would not take place. The chaos continued with another ruling, which only allowed the commuter between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to carry out the procedure (this could be a dangerous precedent). Nobody. At the same time, it was clear that such a decision would favor Max Verstappen regarding the tires on him and offer him the title on a silver platter.

If such a situation arises at any point during the season, the cars will cross the finish line behind the safety car. Why was it different now? Does the race directorate have the right to amend the rules in this way just because it is the last event of the season? Aren’t all great prices the same? This time around, the rebound rules didn’t exist and decisions came from the belly as in village go-kart races. Because Liberty Media wanted an offer? I do not know, maybe.

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Try getting into the skin of Lewis Hamilton. You will do everything right and go to victory, but someone will brutally drive you out with his decisions. The race manager will do everything so that you don’t get a chance to win. How upset would you be and how angry would you feel? However, Lewis Hamilton still congratulated Max Verstappen and managed his first TV interview with absolute grace. Although denied his title, he was calm and composed.

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Finally, something more personal. Formula 1 needed change, and for many years it damaged Mercedes’ dominance. That’s why (and not only) I supported Max Verstappen and wished him the title so much. However, I don’t know how to enjoy it that way. There was a bitter taste inside me.