Lewis Hamilton’s younger brother Nicholas believes the FIA were a “disgrace” and “broke their own rules” in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Nicholas, himself a racer in the British Touring Car Championship, was understandably outraged by the way his brother was denied a record-breaking eighth World Championship title.
Debate has rumbled on after a late Safety Car bunched the field up, with Hamilton in the lead of Max Verstappen – who had pitted for fresh tyres.
Selected lapped cars were allowed to pass the Safety Car, which removed any drivers between the two title contenders and set up a final-lap showdown, which turned into one of the most dramatic climaxes to a season the sport has ever seen.
The Red Bull driver got past his Mercedes rival on his fresher rubber and became World Champion for the first time, in controversial circumstances which has led to criticism of race director Michael Masi in the aftermath of the race – which angered the younger Hamilton brother.
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 12, 2021
“THE TRUE CHAMPION!” Nicholas wrote on his Instagram account.
“The FIA broke their own rules, which is a disgrace to our whole sport. Nevertheless, regardless of being mistreated today, the Hamilton’s were humble in defeat.
“My father, the guy who raised us, congratulating Max & his father Jos. People can say what they like, but my Father’s gesture proves all of the doubters & haters wrong & shows who we are as ‘The Hamilton’s’.
“Proving people wrong is in our DNA, which Lewis does on a daily basis. With utter professionalism & decency in defeat, even though we all know, that he was let down by the sport that he has given so much to.
“Congratulations to Max for such a fantastic season from him.”
Anthony Hamilton received widespread praise for going to congratulate both Max and Jos Verstappen in the paddock after the race, while Lewis was lauded for how he handled being beaten to the title in a dramatic end to the season.
Mercedes lodged two appeals against the FIA for their handling of the situation and alleged that they broke their own rules in relation to lapped cars passing the Safety Car.
These protests were dismissed late on Sunday night by the FIA, and this confirmed Verstappen as the World Champion of 2021.
Mercedes expressed their intention to lodge a further case against the rule-makers, though, which would take the case to the International Court of Appeal, should they decide to go ahead with it.
Formula 1 controversy like no other
The call made at the end will be talked about until the end of time.