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Toto Wolff, the big boss of the Mercedes Formula 1 team, hopes that the same situation as in Abu Dhabi will no longer occur in Formula 1. The Austrian still believes that Lewis Hamilton was robbed of an eighth world title by race director Michael Masi .
Five laps before the end of the race – and with it the season – Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed in Turn 13. The Canadian was in an awkward spot, so the safety car had to come out. Hamilton stayed out while Max Verstappen came in for new tires. What happened next, according to Mercedes, was ‘pure manipulation’.
First, the drivers were told that lapped cars were not allowed to overtake. Five of these cars drove between Hamilton and Verstappen. A lap later the message came suddenly that these cars were allowed to pass the safety car, but only these five. Normally after such an action one has to wait one lap before the safety car is brought in, but Michael Masi decided to do that in the same lap. Much to the ire of Mercedes and Wolff.
This gave Max Verstappen one more chance to overtake and he immediately took it. The Dutchman passed Hamilton and won the championship. According to Wolff, it is important that such a scenario should not occur again in the future.
“Many controversial decisions were made last season, but the last decision in Abu Dhabi was the one with the biggest impact. After all, it decided the championship.” Wolff informs RN365. The Austrian notices that he is partly guilty of this himself. “I think the race director was under a lot of pressure and that’s partly our fault.”
Toto hopes that in the future it will be possible to work on a fairer sport, which everyone can watch with pride. “I am hopeful that we can change the sport with all parties. As painful as this is, it is an opportunity to make the sport better.” says Wolff.