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Featured Image Credit: F1/PA
Lewis Hamilton revealed how annoyed he was at the last lap situation, in a previously unheard radio message to his Mercedes team, as Max Verstappen raced to the Formula One drivers world title.
The F1 season ended in huge controversy on Sunday, with Verstappen pipping Hamilton on the final lap of the final race in Abu Dhabi, to take his first world title.
Race director Michael Masi made a last minute decision to allow cars who were lapped behind the safety car, after Nicholas Latifi crashed with six laps remaining, to unlap themselves.
Initially Masi hadn't allowed it to happen but then let just the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to go, leaving the two title rivals right next to each other, and the Dutchman soon flew past.
Whilst Hamilton showed his class after the fight, embracing the new world champion, a previously unheard radio message to his team on that final lap shows how frustrated he was with the decision.
"This has been manipulated, man," the seven time world champ said to engineer Peter Bonnington.
Lewis' final lap radio 📻— Sir Lewis Hamilton Updates (@SirLewisUpdates) December 12, 2021
"This is getting manipulated man"
Hamilton didn't have much to say to his team towards the end of the race, with most of his communication being about the decision not to pit during the safety car, and the speed of the Mercedes-AMG GT R ahead of him.
The British driver's last lap message came with four corners to go and then he remained off the radio after the race had finished.
Bonnington spoke to his driver at the end of the race, saying, :I'm just speechless Lewis, absolutely speechless," but no answer came back over the radio.
The engineer again spoke to his driver to remind him to park on the grid, but it was too late as the 36-year-old was already stopped in parc ferme.
Mercedes appealed the decision of the race to stewards but were dismissed on more than one occasion at the end of the grand prix.
The controversy on Sunday began on the first lap, as Verstappen tried to overtake his rival, and Red Bull weren't happy when the stewards decided not to punish Hamilton for driving over the corner and keeping his lead.
After the initial pit stops, and another for Verstappen under a virtual safety car, it looked like the British driver would become the first eight time world champion, unless his tyres suddenly fell off in an alarming way.
Latifi's crash suddenly changed everything, as Verstappen's dad Jos later admitted, and the Dutchman was soon driving through the chequered flag and, despite the controversy in the end, it was a well earned and hard fought world title win.