The final race of the season in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is perhaps the most controversial event in the history of the sport. A crash caused by Williams driver Nicholas Latifi allowed a safety car to come out during the closing stages of the race. Hence, in order to keep track position, Mercedes decided to keep Lewis Hamilton out.
Formula One journalist Peter Windsor has given his analysis of the dramatic race. He stated that the Silver Arrows didn’t think it was possible to let the safety car in and carry on with the race. Therefore, in order to retain their lead in the race, they didn’t bring Lewis into the pits.
Windsor said as quoted by Motorsport.com, “If they had pitted for the new tyres, they would probably have won the world championship. The reason Mercedes didn’t do it was because the rules showed it wasn’t worth it.
They didn’t think it was possible for the safety car to get in and continue the race with one lap before the end. It wouldn’t have made any sense then. Based on that, Mercedes decided to leave Hamilton out.”
“Track position was very important and if Hamilton had gone in, Verstappen would have been out. If the race had ended under the safety car, Verstappen would have won. A pit stop therefore involved various risks.
I think it’s still a difficult situation to analyze. Whichever way you look at it, it was impossible for Mercedes to predict what was going to happen,” he concluded. (Translated from Turkish via Google)