Lewis Hamilton was ‘lucky’ in F1 title race, Honda chief claims

Lewis Hamilton was “lucky” on several occasions during the Formula One season and was fortunate to take the title race to the final Grand Prix of the year, it has been suggested.

Hamilton lost out on a record-breaking eighth world championship when he was passed by title rival Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver had won three races in a row to head into the race at the Yas Marina Circuit level on points with Verstappen and was leading until a late crash from Nicolas Latifi triggered a safety car.

And Mercedes were left furious after race director Michael Masi controversially allowed five cars to unlap themselves, putting Verstappen behind Verstappen ahead of the final-lap shootout, with the Red Bull driver having pitted for a fresh set of soft tyres.

Mercedes protested the race result before withdrawing their appeals, with team boss Toto Wolff branding the way Masi had allowed the race to unfold was “unacceptable.”

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However, the head of Honda F1, Masashi Yamamoto, has claimed that Hamilton benefitted from a similar situation at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix earlier in the season.

Honda powered Red Bull’s engine last season, their final campaign as an engine provider in F1.

“Lewis made a mistake, went off the track and lost a lot of time,” Yamamoto said, referring to April’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, in which Verstappen beat Hamilton to first place.

“However, the red flag allowed his car to be repaired and he was able to make up the lost lap time. Lewis has been lucky a few times this season and this was one of them.”

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