Lewis Hamilton’s controversial loss to Max Verstappen in the F1 2021 season finale was seen by the entire world at the time but no one had a better view than McLaren man Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardowas immediately behind a group of lapped cars that were allowed to unlap themselves on the penultimate lap on the instruction of Michael Masi. When the race resumed, the Australian watched on as Hamilton attempted to fend off Verstappen but only in vain.
The 32-year-old has now revealed he knew the exact moment when Lewis Hamilton was beaten on the final lap. During an interview with ESPN, Ricciardo said:
“It was (wild) and it’s funny because, you know, there was not only one lap to go but my race was… I wasn’t in the race. It wasn’t a great Sunday for me. So, I was really a spectator at that last lap and even going through Turn 2 and 3, I could see Max [Verstappen] was kind of close and I was like, ‘Is Lewis [Hamilton] going to defend? What’s going on?’ and I’m pretty sure I saw his light flash like he was clipping.
And I was like, ‘Why is he clipping on the last lap?’ You’d figure he’d have all the battery to use and that’s when Max went for the pass and I was like, ‘How is this happening?’”
Ricciardo went on to compare the situation to Hamilton’s maiden F1 World Championship win back in 2008 at Interlagos. He added:
“I was watching as a fan in 2008, you know, the last lap drama unfold with (Felipe) Massa and Hamilton and it was a lot to process and I was just like, ‘Man, how would you feel if you were Hamilton right now?’”