Bernie Ecclestone aims ‘Oscar’ dig at Mercedes chief Toto Wolff after Abu Dhabi outburst

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Bernie Ecclestone believes Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff deserves an ‘Oscar’ for his performance as Max Verstappen won the 2021 Formula 1 world title. Verstappen controversially bettered Lewis Hamilton last weekend to claim his maiden Drivers’ Championship, leaving Mercedes reeling.

Hamilton led most of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but Nicholas Lafiti’s late crash prompted a safety car that should’ve stayed on the track for the final laps of the race.

However, the FIA’s F1 Race Director Michael Masi allowed lapped cars between the Brit and Verstappen to un-lap themselves and the race to restart for the 58th and final lap.

Verstappen, on fresh tyres, quickly overtook Hamilton, ending his hopes of a record-breaking eighth world title.

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Cameras and the team radio caught Wolff incensed with Masi for his decision, despite Mercedes claiming an eighth successive Constructors’ Championship.

And Ecclestone has sarcastically criticised the Mercedes boss for his reaction to the outcome.

He told German broadcaster n-tv: “Other team members were probably angry too, but he was the only one to show it.

“If Mercedes don’t win the championship retrospectively, he should at least get an Oscar for acting.”

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Meanwhile, Verstappen believes Mercedes aren’t as gracious in defeat as Red Bull after the outbursts in the aftermath of Abu Dhabi.

“I think you should be accepting a loss. It doesn’t matter how much it hurts. I do think there that there is a bit of a difference there between the teams,” Verstappen stated.

“I’m fine because I don’t even think about it too much because I do feel like world champion, and it doesn’t matter what they tried to do.

“We won it on track, we won it when there was a green light, green flag, and we passed them on track. They’ll never be able to take that away from me anyway.”

Hamilton received his knighthood from Prince Charles for services to motorsport on Wednesday, just three days after his crushing defeat to Verstappen.

But Ecclestone has brutally suggested the 36-year-old doesn’t deserve the prestigious honour because he hasn’t ‘really done something’ for his country.

“Only people who have really done something for the country should be knighted. I don’t think many people who are knighted now really deserve it,” Ecclestone added.

“They all make a lot of money and donate some to charity, but they haven’t done anything specific for the country.”

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