As he celebrates Verstappen's victory, Bernie Ecclestone dismisses claims of a Hamilton fix.
Lewis Hamilton's claims that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was'manipulated,' according to former Formula One boss Bernie Eccleston, who congratulated Max Verstappen on his first title win.
In a controversial move, race director Michael Masi allowed lapped cars to un-lap themselves on the penultimate lap at the Yas Marina circuit, denying Hamilton a record-breaking eighth world championship.
Verstappen was given the opportunity to attack Hamilton on the final lap, which he dutifully took to win his first championship at the expense of the British driver and Mercedes.
Hamilton could be heard on the team radio after the Dutchman had edged past him, claiming that the race had been "manipulated."
However, Ecclestone, who ruled Formula One for 40 years, dismissed claims of a fix and did not appear to sympathize with Hamilton.
On Sky News, Ecclestone was asked about the race and said, "About being robbed, it's complete and utter nonsense."
"If you think about it, on the first lap of that race, he (Hamilton) went off the circuit and came back on again, while Verstappen stayed on the circuit and did nothing wrong," Hamilton said.
"Because Lewis was not punished in any way, he shouldn't be too upset."
"These things happen in sports all the time; we shouldn't blame the race director; he did exactly what was required."
"I'd like to know who has been manipulating and is clever enough to do that," Ecclestone continued.
"This was just a set of circumstances that occurred, and it brought an incredible world championship to a close that I'm sure everyone enjoyed watching."
Mercedes is rumored to be considering an appeal of the race result, though rumours on Monday suggested the constructor might think twice about it for the sake of the sport.
Regardless, Ecclestone believes it would be the wrong move. "I think an appeal would be the worst thing they could do. It would make them look like bad losers," he continued.
Two men competed in a race, and one was faster than the other.
There's a lot of nonsense in there.
It couldn't have been that clear because it took them four hours to decide whether or not they had a case.
"Max won it fairly and squarely, which is a good thing to do; people are just as happy to see a new face win it, and I was glad Lewis didn't win his eighth championship because of Michael Schumacher."
That's something I don't want to see go wrong."