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The echoes of the 2021 season’s final race still reverberate like the roar of a thousand engines at full throttle. In a season that had witnessed twists and turns, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had emerged as the undisputed contenders of the track. With each passing race, the tension escalated, the points seesawed, and in the final race, they stood side by side, locked in a fierce tie for the championship, the Abu Dhabi GP was their moment where a winner would take it all.

At the Yas Marina, Verstappen stormed to pole position, while Lewis Hamilton followed close behind. Hamilton with a lightning start, surged past Verstappen in the turn 1. But the safety car’s appearance brought a twist to the tale, compressing the gap between the contenders. Verstappen’s fresher tires set the stage for an intense duel, in a stunning move, Verstappen overtook Hamilton and secured the championship in the final moments, the race was a rollercoaster of strategic moves, dramatic overtakes, and intense team maneuvers, culminating in Verstappen’s last-lap triumph, leaving Hamilton and Mercedes aggrieved.

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The aftermath was as tumultuous as the race itself. Mercedes contested the result, igniting a fiery debate. Amidst the chaos, a voice emerged – Johnny Herbert. Unfazed by allegiances, he declared, “Yeah, definitely. I know Max gets very sensitive when he hears those words about being robbed. But Lewis was robbed,” Herbert’s assertion opened a Pandora’s box of divergent opinions, pitting the devoted armies of Hamilton and Verstappen against each other.

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As the dust settles on their 2021 title showdown, another clash has emerged here highlighted by Verstappen’s orange army, this time revolving around  Felipe Massa, whose title was seemingly robbed by Lewis Hamilton. A controversy that dates back to the infamous “Crashgate” scandal of 2008 has resurfaced, a dark chapter that unfolded during the Singapore GP.

Nelson Piquet Jr.’s crash shifted the course of the race, aiding his teammate Fernando Alonso to victory while leaving Felipe Massa out of the points. Ultimately influencing the drivers’ championship, which saw Lewis Hamilton emerge victorious by a mere point. The ghosts of controversies past have risen casting a shadow over the present-day rivalry between Hamilton and Verstappen.

The LH44 and MV1’s divided devotion

Mercedes fans, unsatisfied with the outcome, launched protests and accusations, their voices echoing in the corridors of F1 power. Verstappen’s victory was confirmed, but the reverberations of that fateful day continue to ripple. Johnny Herbert’s quotes about the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP have reignited the debate and divided the armies again as they defend their chosen champion.

Abu Dhabi perhaps would stay as an eternal debate among fans, with the several amount of permutations possible. Although, this is the reality that unfolded be it in 2021 or Brazil 2008.

While Max Verstappen’s loyalists recalled Massa’s incident, Hamilton’s army wasn’t holding back either.

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What do you think about this controversial WDC, was Lewis Hamilton robbed?

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Written by

Vidhita

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Vidhita is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. Driven by her deep passion for motorsports and a love for the exhilaration of speed. Since 2016, she has been captivated by the world of F1 after watching a race with a relative, and her fascination has only grown stronger over the years.
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Edited by

Aishwary Gaonkar