Lewis Hamilton verbally lashed out and claimed the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had been ‘manipulated’ after being defeated at the death by rival Max Verstappen, and surrendering the championship title as a result.

Hamilton, in previously unseen radio audio and dashcam video, questioned the racing’s machinations as Verstappen surged to the chequered flag. 

Verstappen was the winner of the race under the most controversial circumstances. He beat Hamilton in the last lap, after Hamilton had been given a time window to recover from confusion regarding safety car rules.

Hamilton apologized for his defeat after the race and spoke kind words to his Dutch opponent. But footage that was later released shows Hamilton being far less understanding of the situation on team radio. 

Lewis Hamilton verbally lashed out after being defeated at the death by rival Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton verbally slammed Max Verstappen, after he was defeated in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton was heard shouting through his radio, ‘This is being manipulated man.

Hamilton’s message, which was not broadcast to the world via television’s feed, was instead broadcast by F1 on-site TV. Since then it has gone viral through social media.

Lando Norris was also a racer and shared similar opinions. He admitted that the showdown was most likely staged to get the camera.

He told reporters after the dramatic showdown in Abu Dhabi that it had been made for a fight. It was, however, for television.

“Whether it was fair or not is up to you to decide.”

The highly controversial finish first began its snowball effect when Williams driver Nicholas Latifi slid off the track and hit a wall on the closing lap, leading to a safety car being required. 

Christian Horner (left) and Max Verstappen (right) celebrate on the podium after the Dutchman won his first ever world championship

Former F1 champion Damon Hill accused Red Bull of 'playing rough' with 'new rules'

Christian Horner and Max Verstappen (left picture, left and right) celebrated  on the podium after the Dutchman won his first ever world championship; but Damon Hill (right) believes Red Bull ‘played rough’ with ‘new rules’ to win the drivers’ title

Verstappen's fresher tyres allowed him to dive down beyond Hamilton and then win the title

Verstappen was able to win the title because of Verstappen’s newer tires. He was able to jump down past Hamilton.

That safety car was what proved to be decisive as it narrowed the gap between Hamilton and Verstappen.

Criticism and questions were raised about the decision to restart race while others could not unlap.

FIA regulations state that lapped cars that are positioned behind a safety vehicle can overtake or un-lap them while they’re on the track. However, this is not allowed in Abu Dhabi. 

Mercedes lodged protests against Michael Masi, the race director. 

Masi was free to decide the deployment of the safety vehicle, as stated by the FIA, the governing body of F1 racing.

Michael Masi changed his mind over allowing lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to overtake the safety car ahead of the restart

Michael Masi has changed his mind about allowing lapped cars to pass the safety car in front of the restart, between Hamilton and Verstappen.

It has led fans and pundits to wonder if the goal was to create a dramatic ending to match the drama between Hamiltons and Verstappen, which has been gripping F1 fans all season. 

Many have speculated that Masi made the decision to make a compelling storyline for Drive to Survive. This riveting behind-the scenes documentary has brought in a lot of new followers to the sport. 

After being knocked back in an initial appeal against the outcome, Mercedes are reportedly considering scrapping their plans to launch a further appeal against the controversial nature of Verstappen’s win.

Michael Masi, race director, had initially stated that lapped cars wouldn’t be permitted to unlap but Red Bull chief Horner convinced Masi to change his mind. Masi allowed Hamilton and Verstappen five lappers to undo themselves, taking out Briton’s 13 second advantage.

Hamilton could not defend the race because Verstappen had newer soft tyres and Verstappen had pitted during the safety cars. The Dutchman pulled off a spectacular overtake to win his first-ever world title.

Fans have been left wondering about Hamilton’s future, and many see his comments after the race as a sign that Hamilton may be retiring from racing.

Hamilton spoke carefully after the race but said nothing about what he would do next year. 

Hamilton stated that Hamilton thought they did an incredible job this year. Sky Sports After the race, cameras were immediately taken.

“My entire team was so dedicated this year that it has been one of the most challenging seasons.”

It was all we had and it never ended. That’s what is most important.

“We’ll have to wait and see next year.”

Max Verstappen to be STRIPPED for his first World Championship title 

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the first F1 Driver’s World Championship. The party will go on until the early hours of the morning. Mercedes has filed an appeal against these official results. 

Toto Wolff, the team’s principal, has yet to respond to the drama. However, Mercedes appears to be strongly against the FIA at the time this article was written. 

Mercedes is challenging a race director Michael Masi’s decision to allow five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen overtake the safety vehicle on the penultimate lap. Verstappen may have briefly overtaken Hamilton in the safety car.

In the rulebook, Article 48.8 says ‘no driver may overtake another car on the track, including the safety car, until he passes the Line (see Article 5.3) for the first time after the safety car has returned to the pits.’

Also, Article 48.12 states that cars lapped by the leader must pass cars on the lead lap as well as the safety car.

Referring to the first point: Verstappen looked like he was pulling up alongside Hamilton on Turn 12 at lap 57. The race would restart on lap 58, the final lap.

Race Control then told Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon to get the safety car before the drama-filled start.

The instruction was not sent to Lance Stroll, Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo. 

Art 48.12 states that the safety car must be present unless the course clerk considers it necessary.

Mercedes' case looks to question a decision made by race director Michael Masi (pictured at Yas Marina circuit yesterday), who allowed five cars in between Hamilton and Verstappen to overtake the safety car on the penultimate lap of the race - and may also argue that Verstappen briefly overtook Hamilton behind the safety car.

Mercedes is challenging a race director Michael Masi’s decision (pictured yesterday at Yas Marina circuit). Masi allowed five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen overtake the safety vehicle on the penultimate lap. Verstappen may have briefly overtaken Hamilton in the safety car.

Although it is not clear what actions could be taken to address the situation, an investigation has already begun. 

Final verdict: If there are any sanctions, they will fundamentally alter the tone of the title fight and, potentially, strip Verstappen from the trophy.

Hamilton might win the eighth award, if any changes are made to the race results.

The sport will find it embarrassing if the results are reversed.

It may be even more harmful for them to allow the results to stand with rules that were seemingly created on the final lap of the season in order to make a soap opera. 

Red Bull will be speaking to the stewards tonight, but there’s still plenty of controversy.