Unable to help Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi finale, Valtteri Bottas says it “hurts” that his team-mate lost the title to Max Verstappen.
Hamilton and Verstappen went into Sunday’s season-ending race at the Yas Marina circuit tied on points.
That meant whoever finished ahead would win the Drivers’ Championship title. It was Verstappen.
With the Safety Car deployed late in the race, FIA race director Michael Masi ruled that lapped cars would not be allowed to unlap themselves before racing resumed.
Controversially though, he then decreed that the five lapped cars between race leader Hamilton and second-placed Verstappen could do so. But only those five, not all eight lapped cars.
In a last lap dash for the line, Verstappen on fresher tyres overtook Hamilton to win the race and the World title.
Mercedes have announced their intention to appeal and have until Thursday to file the paper work.
Bottas, speaking to Sky F1 immediately after the race, was gutted.
“I haven’t seen anyone yet but I can feel it, of course we wanted to get both titles,” he said.
“Getting the Constructors’ again is huge, but at the same time it hurts that Lewis didn’t get the Drivers’ because, even for me, I feel like I lost the championship because he lost it.
“I really feel gutted for him because I feel like he deserved it, he had a great start, a great race, and then things changed like this [snaps his fingers to demonstrate].
“But that’s the sport, we know that’s how it goes, sometimes it goes against, sometimes it goes for you, but today was not our day.”
Bottas jumping in the pool while his team is on their way to court 😂
— F2.Addict (@AddictF2) December 12, 2021
The race not only marked the end of Hamilton’s four-year reign as World Champion but also Bottas’ last grand prix as a Mercedes driver.
The Finn is off to Alfa Romeo for the 2022 season.
“It’s time for something new, I’m really proud and thankful what we’ve achieved together,” Bottas said. “We’ve done great things.
“It wasn’t maybe the best race to finish it, but need to look at the big picture, we won five Constructors’, with Lewis we’ve been the most successful team-mate pairing in the history of Formula 1, so it’s kind of sad to leave, but of course I’ll look forward to the future.”
Bottas was in action for his new team at the Yas Marina circuit on Tuesday, taking part in the post-season Pirelli tyre test with Alfa Romeo.
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