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Lewis Hamilton 'stronger' after F1 break but Toto Wolff still can't forget Mercedes pain

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Toto Wolff says he will ‘never forget’ the injustice of Abu Dhabi. The Mercedes boss claimed Lewis Hamilton ‘destroyed’ the field in the final race of last season only to be denied a record-breaking eighth world title when he was passed by Max Verstappen after a controversial decision from the race director.

FIA race director Michael Masi allowed some cars to unlap themselves under a late safety car, allowing Verstappen, on fresher tyres, a decisive run at Hamilton.

“We have to move on but we are not going to forget it because that is simply not possible,” said Wolff on Friday after the unveiling of Mercedes’ 2022 car.

“Nothing was fixed… it was circumstances and decisions that were unprecedented and how they came about – certainly for us – was a shock.

“Three laps to the end we got a message that said the cars were not allowed to unlap themselves.

MUST READ: Mercedes never feared Lewis Hamilton retirement as Toto Wolff opens up

“And three to four minutes later, there were two messages that came out of nowhere – obviously we now know what happened in the background, unknown to us.

“And then the championship was gone, literally within half a minute of the decision-making process and that’s unprecedented.”

What happened in the background was that Masi was vehemently lobbied by Red Bull chief Christian Horner and seemed to change his mind, giving Verstappen his overtaking chance.

It was a crushing blow to Hamilton and there were fears it might prompt the seven-time world champion to walk away, disillusioned, from the sport.

DON’T MISS: Red Bull suffer nightmare first track session and Mercedes may follow

“And from then on, there was no looking back. Lewis destroyed the competition in every single race going forward … and also on the Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

“I think that adversity has always made him stronger, more resilient and more determined – and this is the attitude I feel in him right now.

“And this is the mindset I see in the team. I think what Lewis did – to take himself away – was absolutely right.

“The adversity that has been thrown at him will make him stronger and, as he said, now… it is attack mode.”



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Ruud van Nistelrooy makes next job decision as Man Utd plan coaching appointment

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That decision failed to pay off, however, with the Red Devils sacking Moyes after just 10 months in charge.

After the current West Ham boss came Van Gaal, who arrived with big things expected due to his past success at the likes of Barcelona and Ajax.

Giggs was hoping to get the Red Devils job himself, which was why he stayed, but both ended up leaving nearly six years ago.

When Jose Mourinho took over, he opted to maintain his close relationship with Rui Faria – who had previously worked under him at clubs such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Fair departed in the summer of 2018, though, with Michael Carrick then given a place on Mourinho’s bench.

Carrick stayed to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian also regularly picking up the thoughts of Phelan and Kieran McKenna throughout his spell in the dugout.

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