FORMER F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone believes it is ‘complete and utter nonsense’ that Lewis Hamilton was ‘robbed’ of winning a record eighth World Championship.
The Mercedes driver, 36, lost out on the title to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who overtook him on the final lap in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton was on course for victory only for a safety car to be deployed on lap 54 after Williams’ Nicholas Latifi crashed into the barriers.
The 36-year-old was leading the race by over ten seconds prior to the safety car, which ultimately allowed Verstappen to hone in on his rival.
Verstappen then used his fresher tyres after he pitted to edge in front of the seven-time world champ after stewards decided to allow lapped cars to pass Hamilton.
FIA director Michael Masi had initially indicated lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen would stay in their formation, only to change his mind, resulting in the former to claim that the race ‘has been manipulated’.
Furious Mercedes chiefs immediately appealed the safety car decision and vowed to take their case to the FIA’s appeals court after their pleas were rejected.
But even though many feel that Hamilton was denied victory on Sunday, Ecclestone has stated that his British compatriot can have no complaints about not winning.
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He pointed towards an incident involving Hamilton and Verstappen at the start of the Abu Dhabi GP after their opening lap collision.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “About being robbed – it’s complete and utter nonsense.
“If you want to think about it carefully, on the first lap of that race he (Hamilton) went off the circuit and came back on again and Verstappen stayed on the circuit and did absolutely nothing wrong.
“Lewis wasn’t punished at all for this so he shouldn’t be complaining too much.
“These things happen all the time in sports. We shouldn’t blame the race director, he did exactly what was the right thing to do.”
Commenting on Hamilton’s manipulation claim, Ecclestone added: “I’d like to know who has been manipulating and is clever enough to do that.
“This was just a set of circumstances that happened and it ended an incredible world championship that I’m sure everyone was more than happy to watch.
“I think an appeal would be the worst thing they (Mercedes) could do. It would look like they are bad losers.
“It was very level. Two guys racing each other and one was quicker than the other one. It’s a lot of nonsense.
“It took them four hours to decide if they had a case or not so it couldn’t have been that clear.
“Max won it fair and square which is a good thing to do. People are just as happy to see a new face win it.
“I personally was happy that Lewis didn’t win an eighth championship because of Michael Schumacher. I wouldn’t like to see that broken.”
Source: The Sun