Ex-F1 CEO Reveals How Mercedes Could Have Helped Lewis Hamilton Win the Title Despite the Last Lap Chaos

Published 12/30/2021, 7:15 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah


Mercedes had a rather heartbreaking end to the 2021 F1 season, as they helplessly watched Lewis Hamilton lose his drivers’ title to Max Verstappen, barely a lap away from the chequered flag. But weeks after the championship defeat, former F1 CEO, Bernie Ecclestone, is not ready to accept the fact that Mercedes were actually helpless.

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The British businessman reckoned that Mercedes had lost a trick that could have easily fetched Hamilton his record-eighth title. And the plan involved the other Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 11, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton gets out of his car after qualifying in second position REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

With Sergio Perez out of the race, Mercedes had already won the constructors’ championship. Hence, Bottas was almost of no use to the Brackley outfit at the Abu Dhabi GP. But, could Mercedes have made better use of the Finn? Definitely.

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Ecclestone opined that Mercedes could have used Bottas to keep the safety car out on the final lap after the string of controversial decisions from the stewards.

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Mercedes could have won Hamilton the F1 title

Speaking to Blick, Ecclestone reckoned that Mercedes could have demanded Bottas to park his car on the track which consequently would have forced the safety car out on the track.

Of course, Ecclestone acknowledged the potential backlash from Red Bull and other rival teams, but he felt that the fans would have missed out on the unpredictable ‘current finale’.

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Pretty clever. I thought of that too, and there would have been some ideal places for the safety car to stay outside. Many would have been upset, but nobody would have had the current finale in the back of their minds without restarting the race,” Ecclestone said.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton looks dejected after finishing second in the race and the world championship Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili

Mercedes needed support from a driver like Perez to win Hamilton the championship in Abu Dhabi, but, what they had was Bottas, who, unlike in any other race weekend, was struggling to put on a strong show. In the end, he was en route to claim the final podium spot, and all he needed was to overtake Carlos Sainz.

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Unfortunately, he ended up losing an extra couple of spots to the two AlphaTauri drivers, ultimately seeing off the race in a disappointing P6. So, let’s hear it from you; should Mercedes have taken the controversial route to help Hamilton win the title?

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Rohit Kumar

1638 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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