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LISTEN | Lewis Hamilton told team on radio race was 'manipulated'

Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain after the nail-biting race.
Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain after the nail-biting race.
Image: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton said on his team radio, “This has been manipulated,” after the Briton was passed by Max Verstappen on the final lap of Sunday's controversial season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The message was not broadcast on the world TV feed but was audible on seven-time champion Hamilton's on-board channel on F1TV, multiple media outlets reported. Reuters has requested comment from Mercedes and the governing FIA. Red Bull's Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the last lap to win the Abu Dhabi GP and claim his first championship after race director Michael Masi altered the safety car procedure to allow five cars between the title rivals to get out of the way.

The decision gave Verstappen a clear run on Hamilton in what amounted to a last-lap sprint finish, with the Dutch driver on fresher tyres. Hamilton was gracious, congratulating Verstappen and Red Bull for their victory.

Meanwhile, Hamilton was not robbed of a Formula One championship and Mercedes will look like bad losers if they appeal against Verstappen's success, the sport's former supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said.

Mercedes, constructors' champions for a record eighth year in a row, had two protests dismissed after Sunday's deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and have given notice of their intention to appeal. 

“It is a complete and utter nonsense,” Ecclestone told Sky Sports News of the suggestion Hamilton was cheated. “I think it'd be the worst thing they could do,” the 91-year-old said of going forward with the appeal.

“I mean, looks like they're bad losers.” The Briton also said Masi had done “the right thing” and should not be blamed.

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