Mercedes has denied claims Lewis Hamilton gifted his official 2023 championship trophy to a fan after leaving it behind at the FIA prize-giving ceremony in Baku.
For the first time in his career, Hamilton finished third in the World Championship and attended the ceremony where Max Verstappen and Red Bull were officially crowned World Champions, along with other FIA title winners, including Formula E and the World Rally Championship.
However, the ceremony came days after the FIA controversially opened, and then closed an investigation into Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and F1 Academy director Susie Wolff after it was claimed in the media that the couple had shared confidential information with each other.
This led to the other nine teams all issuing statements of support for Susie Wolff, who was "deeply insulted" by the claim, while Mercedes is engaged in active legal proceedings with F1's governing body over the situation.
Hamilton was critical of the FIA, labelling it "unacceptable" and after the official ceremony, left his P3 trophy behind, where a fan, as shown below, claimed to have been gifted the trophy by the 103-time race winner.
However, a Mercedes spokesperson confirmed to RacingNews365 that Hamilton had accepted an offer from the FIA to ensure the trophy was "sent on to the team and therefore left it in their care.
We can confirm he did not give the trophy to anyone ‘as a gift’ as has been speculated."
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