Nicolas Hamilton, brother of Lewis, has slammed the FIA for "breaking their own rules" in the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen snatched victory and the World Championship.
Hamilton had controlled the majority of Sunday's race after passing Verstappen at the start, but the encounter was turned on its head in the closing laps by a Safety Car period to cover Nicholas Latifi's crash.
Verstappen took the opportunity to pit for new Soft tyres, while Hamilton stayed out on old Hards, amid uncertainty as to whether the race would restart.
As the laps ticked down, several lapped cars that sat between the pair were initially told to hold position, only to be released by Race Director Michael Masi moments before the Safety Car peeled back in with a lap to go.
Verstappen thus closed up on the rear of Hamilton for the restart and stormed past his rival to take the chequered flag and secure the title, much to the frustration of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who singled out Masi on the radio.
"A disgrace to our whole sport"
In an Instagram post, headlined 'the true champion', Nicolas Hamilton paid tribute to his brother for his efforts throughout the season and criticised the FIA for their handling of the final few laps.
"The FIA broke their own rules, which is a disgrace to our whole sport," he wrote.
"Nevertheless, regardless of being mistreated today, the Hamiltons were humble in defeat. My father, the guy who raised us, congratulating Max and his father Jos.
"People can say what they like, but my father's gesture proves all of the doubters and haters wrong and shows who we are as 'The Hamiltons'. Proving people wrong is in our DNA, which Lewis does on a daily basis.
"[He showed] utter professionalism and decency in defeat, even though we all know that he was let down by the sport that he has given so much to."
Signing off, he added: "Congratulations to Max for such a fantastic season from him."
Mercedes' initial post-race protests were thrown out by the stewards, but the team have confirmed their intention to appeal.
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