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Verstappen offers Hamilton sympathy over Abu Dhabi triumph

Verstappen offers Hamilton sympathy over Abu Dhabi triumph

Verstappen offers Hamilton sympathy over Abu Dhabi triumph

Verstappen offers Hamilton sympathy over Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen has revealed his sympathy for Lewis Hamilton for the manner in which the 2021 F1 championship was decided.

But the Red Bull driver is hopeful his rival can understand the emotion that came with securing a maiden F1 title.

Verstappen and Hamilton fought each other in a fierce rivalry that saw drama on and off track, with collisions and near-misses supported by political battles involving team principals Christian Horner and Toto Wolff.

The intensity continued through to the season finale 12 months ago, when Hamilton looked to have taken control by leading the race going into the closing stages.

A late safety car was then triggered by Nicholas Latifi, an incident which looked set to see the Briton crowned under neutralised conditions.

READ MORE...Verstappen delivers damning F1 sprint verdict

But then-FIA race director Michael Masi rushed the restart procedure, allowing through only a selection of lapped cars between the two championship protagonists - later put down to human error - and not providing these cars with the regulated extra lap needed to join the back of the pack.

Whilst Verstappen was overjoyed with his first title, Hamilton and Mercedes were left furious.

Asked if he had any sympathy for Hamilton, Verstappen told Sky Sports F1: "Of course, it was all looking great but then something like that happens. It is tough.

"The only thing I would say to myself at the time was 'He has seven world championships and he has also won one where it looked like he was losing out and then in the last corner, he didn't'.

"So I hope he could understand there is a difference in emotion but yeah, I felt for him.

"Especially the year we had, of course, we had our moments where we got together but I have always respected him and I think we did have a great battle."

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