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Wolff has processed Abu Dhabi '21: 'An individual lost his way'

Wolff has processed Abu Dhabi '21: 'An individual lost his way'

13-05-2023 12:07


The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will always be an unpleasant memory for Lewis Hamilton and his team boss Toto Wolff. The Mercedes men were just a few laps away from the world title but saw a safety car throw a spanner in the works. Max Verstappen took his first world title. Speaking to ESPN, the two look back at that particular Sunday afternoon again.

"Ultimately that feeling never really truly leaves you," Hamilton told. The Briton was very close to a record-breaking eighth world title but saw rival Verstappen grab the lead on the last lap on fresh rubber. "It's like when you think about your first love, it will always be that first love and first heartbreak," states the Mercedes driver. After the season finale in the oil state, there was radio silence on his part. The 38-year-old seven-time world champion needed time to face the loss: "The scar is there and there will always be that memory."

'Masi is the culprit'

Team boss Toto Wolff says he has now coped. A crash by Nicolas Latifi caused the race director to decide to send the safety car out, giving Verstappen a last chance at victory. There was controversy after Masi decided to let only the 'lapped' cars between Hamilton and the Dutchman 'unlap' themselves. According to the Mercedes camp, the race should have ended behind the safety car.

"For us, it was a catastrophic set of circumstances," stated Wolff. "It was the making of one man." The Australian race director was relieved of his duties moments later. "This was a championship between two drivers and two teams, both had merited to win and on the day the outcome was different because one guy just lost the plot. For us it was a catastrophic set of circumstances, but it was the making of one man -- there is no big conspiracy theory behind it. Would I have wished that Jean Todt got involved rather than being filming for his documentary? Yes. At least to tell the stewards to look at it the right way."

The German racing stable is still not back at the top. Meanwhile, while Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has a second world title in his pocket, Mercedes is currently happy with a P4 and P6 finish, something they had not been two years ago.