Carloz Sainz shared a few brief words with Lewis Hamilton in the moments after the Brit was cruelly denied an eighth world title in controversial circumstances
Carlos Sainz has revealed all about the brief conversation he had with Lewis Hamilton on the podium shortly after the Brit missed out on the 2021 drivers’ title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton looked almost certain to become Formula 1 world champion for an eighth time after dominating proceedings in the season finale.
But then a late Safety Car caused chaos as unlapped vehicles were allowed to overtake and racing was permitted to resume for the final lap – which Mercedes felt was against the rules.
Those decisions were made by race director Michael Masi, whose position remains uncertain two months on as the FIA continues its investigation into what happened.
One thing that is certain was that Hamilton’s defeat in Abu Dhabi was through no fault of his own, so he could have been forgiven for being furious in the moments after the end of the race.
Other than a brief chat with TV reporters, Hamilton stayed largely quiet and maintained his composure publicly despite the agony he must have been feeling.
Sainz, who finished third in Abu Dhabi behind the two title race protagonists, has now spoken of a brief chat he had with Hamilton while they were stood on the podium together.
“Losing the title on the last lap like that, it’s just hard to accept,” the Spaniard told Italian outlet Corriere Della Sera , adding that he felt “very bad” for the Mercedes ace and that he was “surprised he avoided making a mess”.
Sainz added: “I respect him more than before for the way he managed to do it.
“We had a few words on the podium, he was really struggling [to comprehend the situation].”
The Ferrari racer went on to suggest he agrees with those who have called for the rules around Safety Car deployment to be made more air-tight to ensure that a similar situation does not arise in the future.
“We must not repeat the same mistake,” Sainz added.
“Every football match generates controversy. We need to prevent F1 from approaching that kind of tension.
“But I don’t think the situation is disastrous, I’m convinced that it is improving.”
The FIA is due to present the findings of its investigation into the events in Abu Dhabi on February 14 to the F1 Commission, five weeks before the start of the new campaign.