Horner claims Mercedes cost Hamilton eighth F1 tittle

Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner has suggested that Mercedes’ strategy during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021 cost Lewis Hamilton his eighth world title – not the late safety car controversy.

With one lap to go in the race, Hamilton suddenly found Max Verstappen right behind him on fresh tyres as the safety car came into the pits.

The rest is of course history, but many who sided with Hamilton and Mercedes have claimed that the 39-year-old had an eighth world title snatched out of his hands by means beyond his control.

Yet Horner has now shone a light away from the incident, insisting that it was Mercedes’ strategy that cost Hamilton a record-breaking number of drivers’ championships.

The end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix proved to be hugely controversial Max Verstappen would go on to win his first world title after benefitting from a late safety car. But Christian Horner (R) believes Mercedes’ strategy cost Lewis Hamilton during the race

“A lot is made about the final lap, but Mercedes went into that race and they were quicker than us in the grand prix,” he told the Secrets of Success podcast.

“Lewis was able to manage the gap to Max pretty comfortably. But then they went very defensive.

“They went very conservative and they they left Lewis out on a set of tyres that were 43 laps old. So he was only ever at a safety car going to be hugely exposed.

“I think in being defensive they exposed themselves to the to the situation that unfolded.

“The way that Lewis handled that disappointment after the race, hats off to him because he would have been even more disappointed, record breaking [eighth] world championship has just disappeared from under his nose, but he handled himself with with dignity and respect.

“I shook his hand in the driver room after the race and he had the good grace to say well done.”


Gideon Canice

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