Max Verstappen says he doesn’t see a reason for Lewis Hamilton to quit Formula 1 following the controversial end to the 2021 drivers’ championship.
Hamilton was leading comfortably before a late safety car period and Mercedes believed he would either have a cushion of five lapped cars left between himself and Verstappen for a final-lap restart or the race would end under the safety car. After race director Michael Masi opted to move the five cars — but not the rest of the lapped runners — and then restart, Verstappen took victory on the final lap, leading to protests and an appeal that Mercedes eventually dropped.
Toto Wolff made clear that both he and Hamilton are “disillusioned” with the way the race was handled, but Verstappen believes the prospect of trying to achieve an eighth drivers’ title should outweigh any lingering anger.
“Of course I can understand that the first few days after a race like that you are not happy,” said Verstappen (pictured above receiving his championship trophy from outgoing FIA president Jean Todt on Thursday night). “But you should also understand that this is racing at the end of the day and these things can happen to you.
“I think he should just look back at what he has achieved already and that should give him a lot of comfort and it should also be that drive to just to keep on going, because he is still trying to challenge for that eighth title and for sure he can do that again next year. So I don’t see any reason why to give up or stop now.”
While he understands Hamilton’s emotions after seeing the championship slip away on the final lap, Verstappen says the 2008 title victory shows such a scenario can work both ways.
“No, I don’t feel sorry but I can understand of course that it can be very painful. But at the end of the day, that’s racing as well. You have to just keep fighting until the end and you know in racing that anything can happen. And he also won a championship like that, so I think he can understand that as well.”