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Lewis Hamilton on Red Bull budget cap breach: What’s done is done

Lewis Hamilton had his say on Red Bull's 2021 budget cap breach, the year Max Verstappen denied him an eighth Formula 1 World Championship

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Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton has made it clear he wants to move on from the case of whether he should inherit Max Verstappen‘s 2021 Drivers’ Championship after Red Bull were found guilty of a budget cap breach for that season.

The FIA found Red Bull had committed a ‘minor’ breach of the cap totalling less than $7.25 million in 2021, and one of the penalties open to the FIA is the docking of Drivers’ Championship points for that season, where Verstappen beat Hamilton by eight points.

“I’m generally looking forwards, I’m looking at how I can win another championship,” Hamilton told the press ahead of the 2022 US Grand Prix.

“I have my own opinions of what we did as a team and how we did it last year and I’m really proud of that, and belief in what we earned, it doesn’t really change a huge amount.

“I do believe that [FIA president] Mohammed [bin Salman] and his team will make the right decisions, I have to believe that, and otherwise I’m just focussed on doing the best job I can, what they have done, is done.”

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after finishing second and world championship winner Red Bull’s Max Verstappen | REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Ferrari and McLaren team bosses, Mattia Binotto and Zak Brown, have criticised Red Bull with Brown in particular going as far as accusing Red Bull of cheating, while Carlos Sainz added even a minor breach could give a big advantage to the team.

However, as potentially the biggest victim of the breach, with some fans saying the overspend denied Hamilton a record-breaking eighth world title, the Mercedes man’s opinion was in highest demand.

“I can’t really give you much of an answer with it,” Hamilton added. “There’s nothing I can say that would be beneficial, it would all be an assumption of what may or may not happen.

“So I’m not giving it any energy, I’m focussed on really continuing to try and gee up the team, really trying to turn this car around, working on things that I can generally control.”

Budget cap integrity at stake

However, Hamilton reiterated the need for the FIA to deal out a substantial punishment to Red Bull to deter further breaches.

“I do think this sport needs to do something about this,” Hamilton said.

“Otherwise, if they’re relaxed with these rules then all the teams will just go over, spending millions more and then only having a slap on the wrists is obviously not going to be great for the sport, they might as well not have a cost cap in future so that’s all I’ve got to say.

“Like I’ve said in the past, I think the integrity of the sport is right now where I think the decisions hopefully will be made.”

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