Lewis Hamilton was ‘really struggling’ to deal with Abu Dhabi Grand Prix climax, reveals Carlos Sainz after holding podium chat with Mercedes star… as Ferrari driver urges F1 to avoid the ‘tension every football match generates’
- Lewis Hamilton appeared set to claim an eighth F1 championship in Abu Dhabi
- However, controversy at the end of the race saw Max Verstappen claim victory
- The Mercedes star managed to retain his composure in aftermath of defeat
- But Carlos Sainz has revealed extent to which British driver was struggling
Carlos Sainz has revealed Lewis Hamilton was ‘really struggling’ to come to terms with the manner of losing out on the F1 title on the podium following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton appeared set to claim a record-breaking eighth championship after dominating much of the race, only to be pipped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who claimed the main prize.
The Dutchman’s victory however came in controversial circumstances, after some cars were allowed to unlap themselves before the safety car was brought in and others were not.
Carlos Sainz (centre) has revealed Lewis Hamilton (left) was ‘really struggling’ to deal with Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result on the podium
Hamilton (left) looked destined to win his eighth F1 Championship title in the final race
FIA race director Michael Masi’s position is under intense scrutiny after he was accused of bending the rules to allow Verstappen the chance to beat Hamilton to the title.
It was a sensational finale to the season but one which was difficult for Mercedes driver Hamilton – who after his loss remained quiet aside from a brief interview with reporters and held his poise in public – to swallow.
But Ferrari star Carlos Sainz has now revealed just how much Hamilton was struggling after having a podium chat with him, and insists his respect for the Brit went up given how he managed to handle himself.
‘Losing the title on the last lap like that, it’s just hard to accept,’ the Spaniard told Italian outlet Corriere Della Sera.
But controversy then came which led to Max Verstappen (centre) claiming the main prize
‘I respect him more than before for the way he managed to do it. We had a few words on the podium, he was really struggling [to comprehend the situation].’
Sainz added he felt ‘very bad’ for Hamilton and stated he was ‘surprised he avoided making a mess’.
Lance Stroll insisted earlier this week the regulations are made clearer to avoid a repeat of the controversial finale this season.
Masi meanwhile has been accused of giving into pressure applied by Red Bull chief Christian Horner and sporting director Jonathan Wheatley, resulting in his decision not to follow the FIA rules and allow the cars to pass.
Hamilton held his poise in public but Sainz has revealed the extent to which he was struggling
And Sainz insists F1 should not allow itself to be subjected to the same sort of controversy that he claims is commonplace in football.
‘We must not repeat the same mistake,’ Sainz added.
‘Every football match generates controversy. We need to prevent F1 from approaching that kind of tension.
‘But I don’t think the situation is disastrous, I’m convinced that it is improving.’
Michael Masi is accused of bending the F1 rules to allow Verstappen to win the world title