Lewis Hamilton could have been 2021 champion but Mercedes 'missed a trick' in Abu Dhabi GP, reveals Bernie Ecclestone | The SunNovember 18, 2022
FORMER F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone believes Lewis Hamilton would have won an eighth world title if Mercedes had deployed a smarter strategy.
Hamilton was pipped to the championship by Max Verstappen on the final lap of the last race at a dramatic Abu Dhabi GP last season.
But Mercedes could have possibly made sure the Safety Car stayed on the track until the end of the race after it was called out with five laps left to go.
That would have meant the leading driver at the time, Hamilton, would have won the race and also the 2021 title.
Ecclestone was asked by Swiss outlet Blick whether Mercedes could have "radioed to [Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri] Bottas to let the car coast because they want to preserve the engine."
Had they done so, in all likelihood the Safety Car would have stayed out and Hamilton would have won the race.
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And Ecclestone responded: "Pretty clever. I thought of that too, and it would have been ideal to make sure the Safety Car stayed out and the race wouldn’t have been restarted.
"Many people would have been upset, but there wouldn’t have been any changes to the final result."
He was then asked if they failure to make the call to Bottas had been costly in handing the championship over to Verstappen.
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Ecclestone replied: "Right, and I don’t know if Toto Wolff, with a third of the team shares, is still in the same strong position as before.
"But we will find out at some point."
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