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Ecclestone saw Mercedes miss out: 'Wolff's position now weakened'

Ecclestone saw Mercedes miss out: 'Wolff's position now weakened'

26-12-2021 12:16 Last update: 12:27
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GPblog.com

The finale to the 2021 Formula 1 season may have unfolded in somewhat controversial fashion, but ultimately Red Bull Racing had themselves to thank for Max Verstappen winning the drivers' title. The team were strategically on top of things, unlike Mercedes who opted to play it safe. According to former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, the final race in Abu Dhabi did nothing to strengthen the position of team boss Toto Wolff.

According to the 91-year-old Brit, Mercedes missed several opportunities. Not only by not bringing Lewis Hamilton in for new tyres during both the virtual safety car situation and the later safety car situation, but also by not using second driver Valtteri Bottas as a weapon.

Red Bull brought in Sergio Perez in the final stages of the race to prevent him from stalling on the track, which would have ensured the race would end behind the safety car. According to Ecclestone, Mercedes could have done the opposite, by having Bottas park his car right next to the track. "There would have been some ideal places for that, after which the safety car should have stayed outside," he says in conversation with Blick.

Ecclestone criticises Wolff

"Many people would have been angry, but nobody would have had the current finale in mind if the race had not resumed," he continued. Ecclestone also criticised race director Michael Masi, but not directly for his decision on the final lap. According to the former Formula 1 chief, he should have waved the red flag immediately, with a subsequent restart of the race for the final three laps.

The fact that Mercedes were not as strategically on top as Red Bull during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, owes much to its team boss says Ecclestone. "I don't know if Toto Wolff, with a third of the team shares, is still in the same strong position as before. But we'll find out one day," Ecclestone said.

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