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Hamilton Verstappen Abu Dhabi controversy to haunt Mercedes "forever" - Wolff

Hamilton Verstappen Abu Dhabi controversy to haunt Mercedes "forever" - Wolff

Hamilton Verstappen Abu Dhabi controversy to haunt Mercedes "forever" - Wolff

Hamilton Verstappen Abu Dhabi controversy to haunt Mercedes "forever" - Wolff

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has conceded the controversial climax to the 2021 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen will haunt the team "forever".

The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will live in infamy alongside the 1990 decider between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost and the 1994 equivalent of Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill as one of the most controversial title deciders in history.

What separates and perhaps lifts last year's example above the others is that neither driver was guilty of wrongdoing at Yas Marina, with the mistakes instead coming from the FIA race control, led by then-race director Michael Masi.

"Abu Dhabi 2021 is going to affect us for a long time, or forever maybe," Wolff told the Beyond the Grid podcast.

"But it is more these more random moments where you sit down and think about these last few minutes where decisions have been made that were contradictory to the ethos of the sport, but it is not on the race weekends."

Wolff added that he believed seven-time champion Hamilton has been able "concentrate on the job" and push aside memories of the controversy and when asked if or when he had been able to move on personally, he replied: "I think we moved on and I personally moved on with Susie [Wolff], because we were both there, as soon as we accepted the result.

"I think we didn't want to drag it into the courtroom because even if we were to have a case, I think we couldn't have remedied it and we didn't want to win any courtroom battle."

Wolff - The best man didn't win

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had stated during the broadcast of the race that Verstappen needed a "miracle" to close the dominant lead of Hamilton in the closing stages.

This arrived in the shape of a safety car but after the proper procedures for withdrawing the vehicle were sidestepped by an unwritten 'let them race' principle, Mercedes was left reeling.

"Max is a deserving champion and so is Lewis," said Wolff.

"On that particular day, it was the same points and may the best man win and that wasn't the case.

"It is sealed. The championship is done, sealed and we shouldn't continue to drag on [about it].

"Max is a double world champion. He is a deserving world champion.

"Mistakes were made, the FIA acknowledged it and we've got to move on."

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