After being overtaken by Max Verstappen in the last lap, Lewis Hamilton sent a radio message to his team that was no longer broadcast on TV.
Important radio messages between drives and their teams usually appear on TV screens. But one of Hamilton’s messages to his team was not broadcast by most television stations. Only one pre-pay channel, F1 TV, informs www.motorsport.com, transmitted this message immediately after Hamilton was overtaken by Verstappen with four turns before the finish.
In this message, Hamilton tells his race engineer Peter Bonnington: “Yeah, this is getting manipulated man!” Bonnington reported immediately after Hamilton passed the finish line: “I’m just speechless Lewis, absolutely speechless.”
Prior to Hamilton’s comment, Bonnington informed Lewis that race director Michael Masi had decided to let the five delayed cars between Hamilton and Verstappen pass ahead to be on the same lap as the other cars. Bonnington then informed Hamilton that the safety car would be off the track. “Safety car in this lap, just prepare your tires, you’ll have to overtake for each of the straights, one lap to run.”
After this comment, there was no dialogue between the two until Hamilton’s message about the manipulation of the race. But in the end, Hamilton went to Verstappen and congratulated him on his victory.
Mercedes filed two appeals which were were rejected. Then, they filed another appeal but today Mercedes has decided to withdraw it, ending the legal dispute over the title of the 2021 season.
Toto Wolff, the Mercedes Team Principal, said clearer rules are needed in the future to prevent such things from happening again.