The way Lewis Hamilton was treated by the FIA in the dramatic Formula One world title finale on Sunday was “a disgrace”, said the driver’s younger brother.
Nicolas Hamilton accused the F1 governing body of “letting down” Lewis, following his loss in Abu Dhabi. He labelled his brother as “THE TRUE CHAMPION” in a heartfelt post on Instagram, and added: “The FIA broke their own rules, which is a disgrace to our whole sport.
“Nevertheless, regardless of being mistreated today, the Hamilton’s were humble in defeat. My father [Anthony], the guy who raised us, congratulating Max & his father Jos. People can say what they like, but my father’s gesture proves all of the doubters & haters wrong & shows who we are as ‘The Hamilton’s’.
“Proving people wrong is in our DNA, which Lewis does on a daily basis. With utter professionalism & decency in defeat, even though we all know, that he was let down by the sport that he has given so much to. Congratulations to Max for such a fantastic season from him.”
The Formula One season climax is understood to have garnered a peak audience figures of 4.4 million on Channel 4.
Max Verstappen clinched his maiden F1 world championship with a thrilling last-lap overtake at the Yas Marina Circuit with a one-minute peak viewing figure of 4.4 million at 2.32pm. The Red Bull driver stormed past title rival Hamilton in the closing stages of the race, having benefited from a late safety car that bunched up the pack.
There was a combined peak TV audience of 7.4 million at 2.32pm – a 60% share – with Channel 4 and all three Sky Sports channels that were broadcasting the race.
Confusion reigned as the under-fire race director Michael Masi changed his mind to allow lapped cars to pass the safety car – meaning Verstappen had a clear run at Hamilton in the final lap and, on much faster tyres, made his move to claim a first F1 title.
Mercedes immediately launched two appeals against the result, one against Verstappen for allegedly overtaking under a safety car and a second claiming a breach of rules regarding race restarts following a safety car period – both of which were dismissed.