F1 fans throw weight behind Lewis Hamilton as Max Verstappen snubbed for Sergio Perez

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Max Verstappen should not have won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, according to Express Sport readers, as a staggering 115,000 people voted in our end-of-season poll. The Dutchman clinched victory in controversial style in the final race of the season as he landed his maiden F1 championship.

Verstappen appeared to be out of the contest as he trailed nemesis Lewis Hamilton for almost the entire race in the desert.

But disaster struck for the Mercedes driver when Williams’ Nicholas Latifi crashed into a wall with a handful of laps remaining.

The safety car was deployed, with Verstappen pitting for fresh tyres, while Hamilton was forced to stay on the track to ensure he didn’t lose his position.

Race director Michael Masi initially told drivers they wouldn’t be able to overtake but swiftly changed his mind to allow five cars between the two title rivals to move out of the way.

That allowed Verstappen to pull level with Hamilton for a one-lap shootout as the race was restarted.

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And Verstappen cruised past the Briton on his fresh pair of tyres to win the race and secure the world title.

The fallout from the events in the Middle East have been severe, with reports even suggesting that Hamilton could retire from the sport.

And following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we asked Express Sport readers for their thoughts on the race – and they weren’t happy with the result of the season decider.

An overwhelming 73 per cent of readers thought Verstappen should not have won the final Grand Prix of the season.

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Meanwhile, 53 per cent of people said Hamilton was their driver of the day. Sergio Perez came second in the vote after his gallant effort to hold-up Hamilton as the Briton attempted to wrestle back the lead following his first pit stop.

Amazingly, Verstappen was only chosen as the driver of the day by just 10 per cent of our readers as he finished third in the polls.

Only 44 per cent of respondents thought Hamilton should have ceded his lead to Verstappen after going off track on the opening lap.

And the votes were split when it came to the strategies implemented by the two rivals in the Constructors’ Championship.

Fifty-one per cent of voters thought that Red Bull had the best strategy at the season climax, while 49 per cent said Mercedes’ tactics were better.

Meanwhile, 42 per cent of readers thought the stewards were right to allocate just one lap of racing after the safety car, while 28 per cent said there should have been four more laps of racing.

But 73 per cent of readers did think the race in Abu Dhabi was better than it had been in the past thanks to the changes made at the Yas Marina circuit. 

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