Reigning 8-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier has backed Lewis Hamilton to remain in Formula 1 for 2022 and has said he feels as though the Briton was ‘robbed’ of the 2021 crown at the end of last season.
The motorsport, and wider, world could not believe what they were seeing at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix back in December, as a contested and controversial bringing in of the Safety Car from Race Director Michael Masi set about a chain of events that led to Max Verstappen nicking the world championship from Lewis on the final lap of the final race of the season.
Certainly, you could not begrudge Max of his world championship as he had a stellar campaign dotted with his own cases of rotten luck, but on the day at Yas Marina Hamilton had driven a composed race and really did look set to earn a record-breaking eighth F1 crown.
That’s not what happened, though, and WRC legend Ogier has said that he felt as though the Mercedes star was ‘robbed’ on the day, but backed Lewis to return to the sport for 2022 to go in pursuit of the championship once more:
“I think he will come back,” he told RMC.
“He is in an ultra-competitive environment with the best team of the moment. It must have been a very difficult situation for him [in Abu Dhabi.]
“He really felt like he was robbed. And he was robbed – let’s not be afraid to say that.
“Although I have a lot of respect for Max and he had a great season, on that last weekend Lewis dominated the race and was in front all the way until the very end.
“Unfortunately for him, there was the famous safety car only a few laps from the finish. So whether it was one or the other, they are both great champions, but looking just at that weekend, it was theft.
“And that’s very hard to swallow for Hamilton.”
The reigning WRC champion is certainly not pulling any punches with these comments, and plenty of Hamilton supporters will feel similar to how the Frenchman does.
Ultimately, the result cannot be changed now and there just has to be a hope that new processes are put in place to try and avoid repeat scenarios in the future.
2021 as a whole did wonders for Formula 1, and that is why it was such a shame things ended the way they did.