Lewis Hamilton avoided making a mess on the podium after losing the 2021 Formula 1 championship title under controversial circumstances in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz feels his admiration for Lewis Hamilton has grown as a result of his composure after he lost the championship title to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi.

At the 2021 season finale, Hamilton looked set to win a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ World Championship all the way through the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, only to have it snatched away at the last moment by Max Verstappen.

Hamilton proceeded through the typical post-race protocols of handshakes, parc ferme interview, and podium ceremony before the gravity of what had happened had begun to sink in.

The seven-time world champion finished second in the race against new champion Verstappen, with Carlos Sainz ranking third, giving the Ferrari driver a unique perspective on how the situation affected the British driver.

During an interview with Corriere della Sera, Sainz was asked how he imagined Hamilton would have felt and the Spaniard said he was impressed by Hamilton’s noble response to his distress.

“I was surprised at how he avoided making a mess at the end of the race,” Sainz said.

“Losing the title on the last lap like that is really hard to accept. I respect him more than ever for the way he managed to behave. We had a few words on the podium and he was really struggling.”

Sainz, a big football fan and a Real Madrid supporter, says he doesn’t want F1 to turn into a sport where referees’ judgments are continually scrutinized and criticized.

“We need to avoid repeating the same mistake,” said the Ferrari driver.

“Every football match generates controversy. We need to prevent F1 from approaching that kind of tension. But I don’t think the situation is disastrous, I’m convinced it is improving.”

On Monday, February 14, the FIA will submit the findings of their inquiry into what transpired at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix during an F1 Commission meeting, before everything is finalized and confirmed and published publicly on Friday, March 18 which will be the free practice day for the 2022 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

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