Toto Wolff explains truth behind Red Bull relations after ‘brutal’ Lewis Hamilton decision

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s controversial end to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December has become one of the biggest debates in Formula One history after the Dutchman was allowed to catch Hamilton in dubious circumstances. However, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has denied that his relationship with Red Bull is non-existent after saying the incident ‘binds them stronger’ for the future.

Hamilton and Verstappen went into the final race of the calendar neck-and-neck on points, a feat that hadn’t happened for 47 years.

Hamilton led for 53 of the 58 laps, seemingly cruising to a victory as he led Verstappen by 10 seconds.

But a crash at the tail-end of the grid from Nicolas Latifi saw a safety car deployed, giving Verstappen the chance to catch Hamilton and a chance to pit.

With Hamilton not pitting as he didn’t want to lose his spot in first-place with just a few laps to go, it seemed that the safety car would drag him over the line.

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But the decision to allow the cars in-between Verstappen and Hamilton to unlap themselves gave the Dutchman a clear shot at Hamilton, which he did to claim his first title.

And despite flared tempers at first, Mercedes boss Wolff has claimed that relations are good with the Red Bull team.

“The statements [after Abu Dhabi protest] at me certainly arose from the emotion,” said Wolff to the media in an online call.

“I can understand that when you have won the race and therefore the title, a protest can be frustrating.

“I have no bad word at all against Christian, Helmut, Red Bull or Max. They were worthy competitors this year.

“We fought like never before, on and off the track, but in the end they won the championship and that has to be acknowledged.

“I think that it also binds us stronger together in the future. Because we may have lost the championship with the Abu Dhabi decision, but Helmut, Christian and Max are racers and we saw what happened.

“And of course there are the explanations that similar things happened against them in the season.

“Maybe it balances out, maybe not. But just the one decision in Abu Dhabi was so brutal, the racer in them will recognise that. I know that.

“Together I think we can change the rules to make the decision making more conscious and that’s in the interest of us, Red Bull and all the other teams.”

The new season gets underway on March 20 in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

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