Ralf Schumacher slams Lewis Hamilton over Max Verstappen’s snub – ‘Not fair’

Verstappen: No reason for


Ralf Schumacher has insisted that Lewis Hamilton should have attended the FIA prize-giving ceremony at the end of last season to watch Max Verstappen pick up the Drivers’ Championship trophy. The Mercedes man was cruelly denied a record-breaking eighth title on the final lap of the final race in Abu Dhabi, with Verstappen forcing his way ahead to clinch the honours under wildly controversial circumstances following a late safety car period.


Hamilton led for the vast majority of the race and looked set to become the sport’s most decorated champion of all time until the latter stages of the contest.



FIA race director Michael Masi then gave Verstappen the opportunity to fight back when he allowed the Dutchman to move through the field by ordering the five lapped cars between himself and Hamilton to overtake the safety car.



Ralf Schumacher slams Lewis Hamilton over Max Verstappen's snub - 'Not fair'

Masi’s decision caused plenty of controversy as a result of the widely-held belief that all lapped cars would be required to un-lap themselves in such a situation.


Verstappen went on to nip ahead of Hamilton during the one-lap shootout that followed to claim his first title before Mercedes launched an unsuccessful bid to challenge the race result.



Hamilton was said to be hugely disappointed with the outcome and decided not to attend the FIA ceremony in Paris as a result of his views on the events that unfolded in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff also failed to appear at the event in which Verstappen was presented with the Drivers’ Championship trophy for the very first time.



Schumacher, who drove for Jordan, Williams and Toyota during his time in F1, has since declared that Hamilton made the wrong decision by refusing to show up and congratulate Verstappen on his victory.

“It’s not at all fair to Max Verstappen to skip the gala,” Schumacher told Sky Sports Germany.



It remains to be seen whether Hamilton or Wolff will be retrospectively punished as a result of their no-shows, with new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem refusing to rule out the possibility last month.

“If there is any breach, there is no forgiveness on this, forgiveness is always there but rules are rules,” he said.



Ralf Schumacher slams Lewis Hamilton over Max Verstappen's snub - 'Not fair'

“They are there to be improved but we have to look if there is any breach. It doesn’t stop us from making a champion feel good about the sport.


“I have promised we will look into the rules and make sure that any situation of this sort that occurs in the future, we will have an instant solution for it.

“We had a meeting with the drivers [about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix] and I feel that what happened has been declared now.



“The FIA took a decision, we discussed it and there was a statement, and now we have to start the new season. We have to be proactive and reactive.

“I feel it is a time where as a driver I would be so upset for a while, but time is a factor that will cool. After the holidays and Christmas, in the new year we will start afresh.”



Ralf Schumacher slams Lewis Hamilton over Max Verstappen's snub - 'Not fair'

Meanwhile, Hamilton is still believed to be weighing up the idea of a surprise retirement in the wake of his controversial defeat, but is widely expected to be present when the new season gets underway in Bahrain in March.

Hamilton is reportedly waiting on the outcome of the FIA’s review into proceedings before making a final decision on whether or not to chase an unprecedented eighth Drivers’ Championship triumph this year.




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