A dramatic radio conversation between Lewis Hamilton and Peter Bonnington has been revealed, as the safety car fiasco unfolded at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The exchange, which lasts just over five minutes, offers a fascinating insight into the panic that ensued, as Hamilton was denied an eighth F1 Drivers' Championship by the finest of margins.
It starts at lap 53, where Bonnington, also known as 'Bono', informs Hamilton that Max Verstappen is stuck in traffic and says that the "gap is now at 12 seconds."
All appeared to be under control where Bono casually drew Hamilton's attention to the safety car, and says: "Turn 14...Yellow...Yellow."
But this is when it starts to go wrong for Mercedes and Hamilton, with the latter clearly unnerved at the closing gap between him and Verstappen in second. The Brit added: "S*** Bono, man," before following this up with: "yeah it's unbelievable man," as he grows increasingly uneasy regarding the whole situation.
Hamilton looked for reassurance as to what was behind him, and Bono said: "Verstappen has pitted he had a free pit stop, we would have lost track position to him.
"This bunch field has to bunch, and they will have to send lapped cars through, so it may not restart."
This is when the unbelievable series of events reaches its crescendo, as the FIA confirmed they would not be letting the lapped cars though, prompting the Mercedes team to believe that the race would not restart.
Cue a panic-stricken cry from Hamilton: "Oh f*** is he behind me?"
Hamilton becomes irater and reveals his frustrations regarding the safety car going too slow, and after some further confusion as to whether or not the lapped cars would overtake, it dawns on Mercedes that the race would re-start.
The race starts with the four cars separating Hamilton and Verstappen allowed to overtake, leaving a final-lap shootout between the pair.
Hamilton cries: "Man this is getting manipulated, man!"
To which Bono replies: "I'm just speechless Lewis. Absolutely speechless."
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