Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that he has made his peace with the outcome of the 2021 Formula One world championship.

However, he also admitted that he still thinks about the controversial nature in which his driver Sir Lewis Hamilton was pipped to the title by Max Verstappen.

At last season’s final race in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton was comfortably ahead of Verstappen and looked set to win a record-breaking eighth title, when the safety car was deployed with just a handful of laps remaining.

Upon the restart, then-race director Michael Masi incorrectly allowed only the lapped cars between Hamilton and Max Verstappen to pass through, thus enabling the Red Bull driver, who was on fresh tyres, to easily pass the Mercedes man on the last lap and pinch the title.

Max Verstappen

It was a highly controversial end to a long and bitter championship, and nine months on the race is still widely discussed and the legitimacy of Verstappen’s victory remains debatable.

‘I think about it every day,’ Wolff told Motorsport.com.

‘But I have my peace with Max winning the championship because he’s a deserving champion.

‘How it panned out, I think I have values around fairness and especially sporting fairness. This is what provides my fundamental love for the sport. And that was kicked with the feet on that particular day.’

In the immediate aftermath of the incident Wolff and Mercedes launched two appeals against the results but both were unsuccessful, however an internal investigation into the incident a few months later concluded that ‘human error’ had resulted in the safety car procedure failure.

The rules at the time clearly stipulated that it should have been every lapped car or none at all that unlapped themselves, and that the race should not have restarted, and as a result Masi was forced out of his job, before quitting the FIA for good just last month.

This year, there are two new race directors and a new FIA president in the form of Mohammed Ben Sulayem, but that has not stopped the controversies and there now seems to be even more tension between F1 bosses, drivers and teams, and the sport’s governing body.

But Wolff is optimistic that things will improve, adding: ‘I think Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the way he’s hiring and recruiting, shows for me direction.

‘Every personality has his edges. And I think the primary objective of being transparent, providing good governance and a good framework is what I see happening.

‘Will there be bumps on the road because Mohammed’s organisation needs to fall in place, and everyone needs to find their role? Yeah, for sure. But I’m happy with how’s it going.

‘They are open-minded. They are not opinionated. For me, transparent, honest and have integrity.’

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