Lewis Hamilton says Italian GP brought memories back of Abu Dhabi controversy

Lewis Hamilton said that the safety car rules were correctly applied at the end of the Italian GP – and that there has only been one time in history where they haven't.

The seven-time F1 World Drivers' Champion famously missed out on a record-breaking eighth triumph last season following a controversial end to the Abu Dhabi GP which led to the sacking of race director Michael Masi.

Max Verstappen went on to win his first title with Red Bull and is cruising to another in 2022 – which was aided by a safety car finish after all drivers but Hamilton pitted for fresh tyres and officials ran out of time to resume.

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While overtaking is usually forbidden during a safety car procedure, the 2021 GP in Abu Dhabi allowed five drivers to unlap themselves giving Verstappen a clear path to overtake Hamilton in the final race of the season.

"It always brings memories back, that is the rule that it should be, right," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 on Sunday (September 11).

"So only one time, in the history of the sport, that they haven’t done the rule."

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He added: "The race director’s corner has been under critics but this time they followed the rules.

"Maybe they could've done it a lap earlier or let George (Russell) through – but they followed the rules and accepted the race ends under safety car. This is how it should be."

Hamilton finished in fifth, despite starting at the back of the grid for exceeding his quota of power unit elements, in what has been a disastrous season.

The 37-year-old could well go all season without a single race win for the first time in his F1 career following an engineering issue that has plagued Mercedes-AMG Petronas.

The issue has stemmed from trying to find a balance between low suspension settings that have the car closer to the ground and not facing violent bounces along the track surface.

With Verstappen and Sergio Perez have sent Oracle Red Bull Racing to the top of the F1 World Constructors' Championship, Ferrari are second thanks to Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr.

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