FORMER F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes Lewis Hamilton would have won an eighth world title had Mercedes used a smarter strategy.
Hamilton was guided to the championship by Max Verstappen on the last lap of the last race at a dramatic Abu Dhabi GP last season.
But Mercedes conceivably could have kept the safety car out until the end of the race after it was called out with five laps to go.
That would have meant the then-leading driver, Hamilton, would have won the race and also the 2021 title.
Ecclestone was asked by the Swiss newspaper Blick if Mercedes could “radio”. [Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri] Let Bottas coast the car because they want to protect the engine.”
Had they done so, in all likelihood the safety car would have stayed out and Hamilton would have won the race.
And Ecclestone replied: “Pretty smart. I thought of that too and it would have been ideal to make sure the safety car didn’t come out and the race didn’t restart.”
“Many would have been upset, but the end result would not have changed.”
He was then asked if not calling Bottas to hand the championship to Verstappen had been costly.
Ecclestone replied: “True, and I don’t know if Toto Wolff is still as strong as before with a third of the team shares.
“But someday we’ll find out.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4356756/lewis-hamilton-title-mercedes-abu-dhabi-gp-ecclestone/ Lewis Hamilton would have won the title but Mercedes “missed a trick” in the final moments of the Abu Dhabi GP, reveals Ecclestone