Lewis Hamilton's fans have reacted to a leaked footage of Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley conversing with race director Michael Masi during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year. Many fans and pundits are now convinced that the result at Yas Marina was manipulated to favor Max Verstappen over Hamilton.
Twitter has been set ablaze by a previously unheard conversation between Wheatley and Masi. The short but revealing clip containing the new audio suggests that the race director acted in favor of Red Bull, 'gifting' Verstappen his maiden title.
Fans on the social media platform rushed to spread the conversation like wildfire, showing their support for Hamilton. One fan claimed to be "sick to [their] stomach," while another wrote:
“It’s incredible that some ‘fans’ are saying that the Horner/Wheatley/Masi #AbuDhabiGP radio isn’t anything new, implying it should be ignored. Sorry, what? It’s irrelevant how old it is. It’s the content that’s important. How can they possibly excuse it?”
The unearthing of the footage has brought pundits such as Karun Chandhok and Damon Hill under fire for allegedly supporting the FIA despite its 'clear' favoritism towards the Dutchman over Lewis Hamilton at Yas Marina.
Former Top Gear and Fifth Gear TV host Tiff Needell also gave his two cents on the matter, lashing out at Chandhok for deleting a tweet in which the Indian supported the FIA's decision. He wrote:
“So, having told me I had heard the Wheatley communications on Sky, @karunchandhok has now deleted the tweet!! Can anyone @SkySportsF1 please settle this confusion?? I’m convinced I’d not heard it before.”
Hashtag in support of Lewis Hamilton gained more initial traction than that of RB18 launch
Red Bull's highly-anticipated 2022 challenger RB18 was revealed in a showcase yesterday. The team, however, couldn't have gotten the timing more wrong as the aforementioned clip was trending on Twitter during the same period. As a result, the popular hashtag #WeStandWithLewisHamilton had more views than #RB18.
With nearly double the number of tweets in a similar time period, the social media platform is ablaze with more focus on the integrity of the sport than on the Red Bull car reveal.
The Red Bull car launch, however, has since garnered more tweets than those in support of Lewis Hamilton, as many expected. It is to be noted that Hamilton's hashtag has been trending since his controversial final lap loss, giving it more overall views than any trend Red Bull has generated.
Meanwhile, Hamilton has broken his social media silence, giving fans an insider look into his training routine with trainer Angela Cullen. While Mercedes has yet to confirm his future in the sport, fans are confident the seven-time world champion will return to the sport in 2022.
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