Lewis Hamilton believes he would have won the 2021 Formula 1 Drivers' title if Mercedes had spent "£300,000" more on car development.
Hamilton was on course for a record-breaking eighth World Championship in Abu Dhabi 2021 having out-performed rival Max Verstappen on race day at Yas Marina.
However, then race director Michael Masi's failure to adhere to precedent under a late Safety Car restart period allowed Verstappen, on fresh Soft tyres, one racing lap to pass worn Hard-shod Hamilton on the final tour of the season.
Verstappen divebombed the Mercedes at Turn 5, and after protests and Masi being removed from post, kept the the title.
2021 was the first year F1 acted under the budget, or cost cap, with teams limited in their spending power.
Red Bull are one of the two teams alleged to have broken the cap of $145 million in 2021, and Hamilton believes that a minor breach from Mercedes would have been enough to secure the title.
Title was possible with extra spend - Hamilton
In the mid-point of last season, it looked as if Verstappen and Red Bull would run away with the title as the Dutchman won three races from four stretching from Monaco to the Austrian Grand Prix as Mercedes faltered.
A big final upgrade package was brought to the W12 machine at Silverstone - where Hamilton won after a contentious first lap collision with Verstappen - but after that point no significant work was done to the car - as Red Bull continued to push.
"I remember last year in Silverstone, we had our last upgrade and fortunately it was great and we could fight with it," Hamilton explained to Sky Sports F1 ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
"But then we would see Red Bull every weekend or every other weekend bring in upgrades. They had, I think, at least four more upgrades from that point.
"If we had if we spent £300,000 on a new floor or an adapted wing it would have changed the outcome of the championship, naturally, because we would have been in better competition in the next race you had it on.
"So I hope that that’s not the case, for the sport.
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Hamilton has confidence in FIA
Hamilton was keen to point out he has confidence in the FIA to reach the right conclusions and backed President Mohammed Ben Sulayem to be "transparent."
"I do believe that Mohammed and the FIA will do what is right with whatever they find out," observed the 103-time Grand Prix winner. "That’s what we have to have faith in."
"It’s important for all of us, all the people that are working, the thousands of people that are working, I think it’s important to have transparency throughout the organisation and accountability is something that we always have to hold true to.
“We’ve seen in previous years of the sport where things have been dealt with in the background [such as the Ferrari engine settlement in 2020 under Ben Sulayem's predecessor Jean Todt.]
"I don’t think that’s the new way forward with the new way of working with Mohammed. I think integrity is very important to him as it is for F1 nowadays with the new management. So I think we have good people in place. I hope that we get the right governance."
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