Lewis Hamilton's shock F1 title loss at Abu Dhabi GP unlikely to happen again after safety car rule change in Italy | The Sun

THE way Lewis Hamilton lost last year's F1 world championships is unlikely to happen again after a rule change seen in the recent Italian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen controversially beat Hamilton in the final race of last year's season in Abu Dhabi to win the title.


The 24-year-old overtook the British driver on the last lap after a restart due to a crash that gave him the chance to catch Hamilton.

But under different rules in the Italian GP last weekend – Daniel Ricciardo crashed towards the end of the race.

And a decision was made that there would be no restart in the order the drivers were in meaning Verstappen remained near the back of the queue behind the safety car after lapping opponents.

He could then not be overtaken by George Russell in second place as he was at the front of the queue of cars stuck behind the safety car.

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff praised the FIA's choice not to restart under those conditions seen in Abu Dhabi despite the decision being criticised by fans who booed and other team principles.

He also made a dig at ex-race director Michael Masi who was in charge during the controversial end last season.

Wolff said: "I'm really satisfied to see that there is a race director and colleagues that apply the regulations against the pressure of the media and the fans to just be in breach of the regulations.

"So at least Abu Dhabi in that sense gave the FIA more robust confidence to apply the regulations.

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"There was a car on track, there were marshals, a crane out there, that's why they didn't let anybody overtake and then there wasn't enough time to restart the race once all cars caught up.

"If one is not happy with the regulations and you want to have a big bang show and two laps of racing and mayhem, I'm absolutely up for it. But then we need to change the regulations.

"So I don't think we need to complain about anything that happened because this is the rules.

"I think we should all sit down and say 'is there something we do better?'. But what happened is in the regulations book and that's why it was applied."

Hamilton himself commented on the contrast in decision comparing last year's finale to what happened in Monza.

He said the weekend's race brought "memories back" of what happened.

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The seven-time world champion also said that: "Only one time in the history of the sport where they haven't done the rules like that today and that's the one where it changed the result."

Christian Horner of Red Bull was less happy with the rules despite his man winning in Italy.

He said: "We don't want to win a race under a safety car. It's something we've talked about for many, many years, that they should finish racing.

"There was enough time to get that race going. I think they picked up the wrong cars, picked up Russell.

"We had the faster car and we would have liked to win the race on the track, not behind the safety car. We share the disappointment of all the fans, because it took away a grandstand finish."


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