Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing
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Red Bull and Mercedes boss’ Christian Horner and Toto Wolff have been urged by Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali to put their explosive rivalry behind them ahead of the 2022 season. Max Verstappen secured a maiden world title in dramatic and controversial circumstances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after he and title rival Lewis Hamilton went into the season finale at the Yas Marina Circuit tied on points.
The Dutchman passed the seven-time world champion – who had dominated for much of the race – on the final lap as a late Safety Car and tyre change swung momentum in his favour.
The 24-year-old made the move on the Brit early in the lap and held on to secure the first championship of his career.
Mercedes were fuming – with their anger largely aimed at FIA race director Michael Masi after he decided to not allow cars to unlap themselves, as is tradition, only to change his mind to set up the final lap showdown between Hamilton and Verstappen.
The epic finale was the culmination of a year-long battle between Mercedes and Red Bull, with team principals Wolff and Horner engaged in a number of heated battles.
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However, despite the exciting drama amid the war of words, Formula 1 CEO Domenicali wants the relationship between the bitter rivals to improve ahead of the 2022 season.
“Those who live with certainties mean they sleep well,” Domenicali told Speedweek.com after the 56-year-old received the Lorenzo Bandini Award in Italy.
“But we have many doubts and we have to face them.
“We have issues that will eventually have to be managed.
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“We will have to evaluate day-by-day the relationship that must be recovered between Red Bull and Mercedes to avoid the personal clashes we have seen that serve no benefit.”
Previously, Wolff insisted the respect between the two rivals would return after the season had ended and the drama calmed down.
However, both the Austrian and Horner have acknowledged they are unlikely to be friends given their differing personalities and clash of management styles.
Since Verstappen dramatically claimed the world championship in dramatic circumstances two weeks ago, Horner is still very much enjoying the monumental win.
He even noted that Domenicali should be happy with the finale.
“I don’t think even a Hollywood scriptwriter could have come up with the ins and outs of this year,” Horner declared to Motorsport.com.
“He’s probably got the biggest sporting event in the world this year as the finale.”
F1 will return in 2022 for preseason testing on February 23 before the opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20.
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