Lewis Hamilton angrily told his team that the result of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had been “manipulated.”
The team radio of the Mercedes driver during the chaotic final lap of the season has emerged and he wasn’t happy at all with how it unfolded.
He has been widely praised for his gratitude in the aftermath of the race, where he congratulated the victorious Max Verstappen.
But during the last lap, a frustrated Hamilton said: “This is getting manipulated, man.”
The 36-year-old led the majority of the race and it looked like he was going to comfortably seal his eighth world title ahead of Verstappen, but Nicholas Latifi then crashed in his Williams with five laps still remaining.
This brought out the safety car and finally a one-lap shoot-out between Hamilton and Verstappen after race director Michael Masi allowed the lapped cars to move away.
The Dutch driver had much fresher tyres as he had pitted twice more than his opponent due to Mercedes not wanting to give up their driver’s position at the front of the race.
Verstappen swiftly overtook Hamilton on the final lap and the British driver couldn’t keep up with his rival.
It’s a first world title for the Red Bull driver, but the controversy wasn’t finished there.
Mercedes protested the decision taken by Masi and it also looked like Verstappen drove ahead of Hamilton when the safety car was still there, but the protests were thrown out by the FIA.
The Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was furious at the outcome and he took to the radio to fume at Masi at the end of the race.
“Toto, it’s called a motorrace, okay?” Masi replied.
This isn’t likely to be the end of the story for what has been a thrilling Formula One season as Mercedes announced they would be appealing the decision.