Russell blasts Verstappen's 'unacceptable' F1 title win over Lewis Hamilton

An enraged George Russell has hit out at Max Verstappen’s ‘absolutely unacceptable’ maiden F1 world championship triumph after Lewis Hamilton was denied a record eighth title in dramatic fashion in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes’ Hamilton held an imperious 12-second lead and appeared in total control until a late safety car came out after Nicholas Latifi crashed with five laps remaining at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Race director Michael Massi had initially stated the race would restart for one final lap without cars unlapping before the decision was made to allow five cars to overtake the safety car.

Red Bull driver Verstappen – who had pitted and had the advantage of fresh soft tyres – was able to pass Hamilton with relative ease as one racing lap was called to decide the victor in what was a fitting end to a controversial season in the sport.

Hamilton and Verstappen were tied on points and had been at each other’s throats heading into the race, but the defending champion made sure to pass on his congratulations in a gracious interview shortly after the drama.

‘Firstly, congratulations to Max and his team. I think we did an amazing job this year,’ the Brit said.

‘The team, everyone back at the factory, all the men and women we have, worked so hard all year in a difficult season.

‘I am so proud of them, and so grateful to be part of the journey with them. We gave it everything this last part of the season and never gave up, that’s the most important thing.

‘Of course I have felt great in the car this past couple of months, particularly at the end. I hope everyone stays safe in the pandemic and has good Christmas during this time and we’ll see about next year.’

Williams star Russell – Hamilton’s soon-to-be team-mate at Mercedes – took to Twitter to vent his anger and frustration at how the race panned out and the decisions made by the stewards, saying he could not believe what he had seen.

‘THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!!,’ Russell tweeted.

‘Max is an absolutely fantastic driver who has had an incredible season and I have nothing but huge respect for him, but what just happened is absolutely unacceptable.

‘I cannot believe what we’ve just seen.’

‘I don’t know what to say. My team and Honda, they deserve it. I love them so much and I really really enjoy working with them. This year has been incredible. Finally a bit of luck for me.

‘I also need to say a big thank you to Checo [Perez]. He was driving his heart out today, it was great team-work and he’s an amazing team-mate.

‘My team know I love them and I hope we can do this for 10-15 years together.

‘There’s no reason to change ever, I want to stay with them for the rest of my life. I hope they let me.

‘Christian [Horner] and Helmut [Marko] trusted me to be in the team in 2016, our goal was to be world champion and now we’ve done that.’

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