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Toto Wolff

Wolff reflects on Abu Dhabi heartache: I've accepted that Max won

Despite months having passed since the controversial ending to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits that he still thinks about what happened every day.

Verstappen Abu Dhabi 2021
Article
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Toto Wolff has revealed how he now feels about the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, eight months on from the title-deciding race.

During the latter stages of the event, Lewis Hamilton was cruising to what would have been a comfortable victory at the Yas Marina Circuit when Nicholas Latifi hit the barriers in the final sector and brought out the Safety Car.

This gave Red Bull the opportunity to pit Max Verstappen for Soft tyres and restart the race right behind Hamilton, who was on old Hard tyres. Verstappen then passed Hamilton to win the race – and with it his debut F1 title – on the final lap.

While Wolff has accepted that Verstappen won the championship, he admits that the events of the race still play on his mind.

"I think about it every day," Wolff told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.

"But I accepted that Max won the championship, because he is a champion who deserves what he got.

"As it turned out, look, I think I have important values like fairness, and in particular sporting fairness, and that's what gave birth to my love of sport. Unfortunately, on that particular day, this value was kicked down."

Hamilton's loss of an eighth world title

The outcome of the Abu Dhabi race meant that Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth World Championship.

When asked whether his disappointment over what happened was linked to Hamilton missing out on this historic achievement, Wolff explained: "Of course, he would have been the only driver to hold this record, but I think he can be equally proud of having seven titles as Michael [Schumacher has], I think this achievement is also definitely historic and important.

"But the goal is to get back to the right performance soon, and if we get back to providing Lewis with a good car, why only think about eight world titles? Why not 10?"

Wolff: It was not easy to accept reality

Wolff admits that it was tough for Hamilton and the Mercedes team to bounce back from the ending of the 2021 campaign, but has praised the seven-time World Champion for maintaining a positive outlook.

"At the beginning, like for all of us, it was not easy to accept reality, it is certainly not a pleasant experience," Wolff added.

"But after the first few races he got his very special spirit back, he was totally focused on getting this car into the top positions, and even when we went through very difficult days, he was always the most positive person in the team."

After a difficult start to the season, the Silver Arrows have showed signs of progress at recent races and currently sit P3 in the Constructors' standings with 304 points, 30 points behind second-placed Ferrari.

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