The scenario loosely resembled Abu Dhabi 2021 – the final race of last season when the interpretation of a Safety Car rule allowed Verstappen to win his first championship, and deny Hamilton an all-time record eighth.
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“It was super exciting, but Red Bull was back on top,” Jos Verstappen, a former F1 driver and father of Max, told De Telegraaf.
“And Max has tried all the tires and indicated which compound would work best. Mercedes also went well, they definitely had a chance to win. But luckily it turned out well for us.
“And you would think that Mercedes learned from last year’s race in Abu Dhabi, but apparently not!”
Hamilton vented his rage via his team radio when he was left out, while Verstappen changed to soft tyres.
He later said of his desperation to resume a title battle with Verstappen which must now wait until the F1 2023 season: “Dying to get back in that race and have the opportunity to fight Max but the day hasn’t come yet.”