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Lewis Hamilton fumed at Nico Rosberg over Max Verstappen comment: ‘Didn’t have success!’

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Lewis Hamilton was “really struggling” in the immediate aftermath of the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has revealed. Hamilton was on course to win his record eighth world title until the safety car was brought out and Max Verstappen was able to change to the quicker, less durable soft tyres. Race director Michael Masi then allowed some lapped cars to overtake the safety car, enabling Verstappen to move closer to his title rival before overtaking him on the last lap. The seven-time champion and his Mercedes team were left infuriated by the decision, and since then many have speculated that it could well put Hamilton into retirement.

This week, Sainz said: “Losing the title on the last lap like that, it’s just hard to accept.

“I respect him more than before for the way he managed to do it. We had a few words on the podium, he was really struggling [to comprehend the situation].”

Hamilton faced stiff competition from Verstappen last season, meaning he is no longer seen as the dominant force in Formula 1.

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Yet even before this, many in the sport claimed that Hamilton was not at the helm of racing, including his former teammate Nico Rosberg.

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Speaking on his youtube channel in 2019, the German claimed that Verstappen was, in fact, the better driver, and said: “If they were to drive the same car, I think Verstappen would be in front of Hamilton in the championship right now. Although this weekend’s lower score [of Hamilton] also has to do with that.

“Verstappen is simply the best, at the moment, driver in Formula 1.

“It is very impressive what he shows, the Netherlands is going crazy, they are still celebrating in the stands. It is beautiful to see and that is what we simply want.”

Hamilton was then asked about these comments in a press conference, and said: “I’ve never seen the blog. It has no influence on my life.

“Whether he’s right or wrong doesn’t interest me, although he has the right to his opinion.

“But I think my records and results basically speak for themselves.

“There are always people who did not have the success that I did who want to talk, but that’s ok.

“I once read a book and it said when people talk bad about you, don’t take it personally because they’re actually talking about themselves.”

READ MORE: Carlos Sainz details Lewis Hamilton chat after Abu Dhabi heartbreak

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In 2016, things got even worse, most notably at the Spanish Grand Prix when the two crashed into each other on the first lap.

In the season finale in Abu Dhabi that year, Hamilton controversially slowed Rosberg to boost his own chances of winning the title.

After months of silence, Hamilton announced he will be back in the Mercedes next season.

He broke his silence on social media with a simple post saying: “I’ve been gone. Now I’m back!”

The first race of the 2022 season takes place in Bahrain on Sunday 20 March.

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