'Wasn't His Fault': Hamilton Holds No Grudges Against Verstappen Because Of 2021 Season

Thursday, 07 March 2024 at 22:30
Updated at Friday, 08 March 2024 at 13:32
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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were the two main protagonists of the 2021 F1 season, and despite a bitter finish, the British driver holds no grudges.
The 2021 Formula One season had one of the best endings in recent memory. It seemed that Verstappen was in control of the World Drivers' Championships with three races to go, when his rival managed to win all three of them, arriving in Abu Dhabi level on points.
During the infamous 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Mercedes driver seemed to drive flawlessly once again. With five laps to go, he was far ahead of the Dutch driver, seemingly driving towards his eighth World Championships.
However, on Lap 53, Nicolas Latifi crashed into the wall, triggering a safety car and subsequent infamous call from race director Michael Masi, who allowed some of the lapped cars to overtake Hamilton, clearing the space between the Brit and the Red Bull car.
As a result, the Dutchman, who was on a softer and fresher compound of tires, was able to easily get past the seven-time World Champion, who experienced one of the most painful defeats of his life.
However, more than two years later, Hamilton knows that what happened in Abu Dhabi was not Verstappen's fault, as he had simply driven the car.
The 39-year-old spoke ahead of the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in light of recent rumors about Verstappen possibly joining Mercedes. Hamilton addressed the rumors and was also asked if the move wouldn't be weird, considering the finale of the 2021 season.

"I wouldn't say I'm surprised, no, because he's a great driver. He did what he had to do [in 2021]. That's not him, it's the sport. That wasn't his fault. I mean, in his position, I would have done the same thing. There’s no issues there."

The British driver showed that he holds no grudges against Verstappen, as the Dutch driver simply had no control over the race control's decision, and simply drove the car the best he could.
On top of that, Hamilton would also understand if Mercedes would sign the three-time World Champion, as he's arguably one of the best, if not the best, drivers in Formula One right now.

"If you run a team, you want to have the best driver in, you want to have a team that's got a driver that brings in eyeballs and sponsorship, he's one of those."