Toto Wolff admits he still thinks about last year’s controversial Abu Dhabi GP ‘every day’

·2-min read

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits he still thinks about the controversial finale of last year’s World Championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix “every day.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed his first world title after overtaking Lewis Hamilton - chasing a record-breaking eighth crown - on the final lap at Yas Marina.

However, the enthralling finale only occurred due to a late safety car as a result of Nicholas Latifi’s crash, with Verstappen running in second place pitting for fresh soft tyres. Then-F1 race director Michael Masi originally decided not to allow lapped cars to overtake the safety car, with five cars in between Hamilton in first and Verstappen in second, before changing his mind on the penultimate lap and immediately ending the safety car period.

Masi was removed from his job ahead of this season as a result of not following the correct regulations, with a subsequent FIA investigation putting the decisions in race control that day down to “human error.”

Wolff, who was livid at the time and made his feelings known over team radio, admits he still thinks about the finale at a daily rate, but did admit that Verstappen was a “deserving champion.”

Toto Wolff admits he still thinks about the Abu Dhabi finale “every day” (Getty Images)
Toto Wolff admits he still thinks about the Abu Dhabi finale “every day” (Getty Images)

“I think about it [Abu Dhabi] every day,” he told Autosport. “But I have my peace with Max winning the championship, because he’s a deserving champion.

“How it panned out, I think I have values around fairness, and especially sporting fairness. This is what provides my fundamental love for the sport. And then that was kicked with the feet on that particular day.”

The finale denied Mercedes an eighth straight drivers title to go alongside their streak of consturctors crowns, while Hamilton as recently as last week recalled he was in “disbelief” following the conclusion of the race.

Mercedes have struggled this season, under new regulations, and currently lie third in the Constructors’ Standings after 13 races, 127 points behind Red Bull in first.

Verstappen also has a healthy lead in the Drivers Leaderboard as he closes in on a second title; the 24-year-old is 80 points ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in second, with Hamilton sixth.

Max Verstappen claimed his first world title after overtaking Lewis Hamilton in controversial fashion (Getty Images)
Max Verstappen claimed his first world title after overtaking Lewis Hamilton in controversial fashion (Getty Images)