Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa engaged in one of the greatest championship battles back in 2008.
Throughout the season, the Ferrari and McLaren drivers battled it out until the last race in Brazil. To be proclaimed champion in front of his countrymen, Massa needed to win the race and have Hamilton finish sixth or below.
Massa did win the race, and for a brief moment, he and Ferrari thought they had won the championship. However, on the penultimate lap, Hamilton passed Timo Glock for fifth place, giving him his first title by one point.
To understand why Lewis Hamilton's maiden championship back in 2008 cuts like ice. We have to go back to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. This 15-year-old controversy lingers over the sport like a storm cloud.
The son of a former F1 legend purposefully crashed his car during the first Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 in order for Fernando Alonso to win the race. However, the fallout from the Crashgate controversy extended far deeper, affecting the careers of two brilliant drivers who had nothing to do with the incident.
The 2008 Singapore Grand Prix will always be remembered for the wrong reasons. Although Massa had the pole position and was in the lead during the race, Hamilton had a one-point championship lead over the Brazilian.
Nelson Piquet Jr., racing for Renault and the son of F1 champion Nelson Piquet, struck the wall next. As a result of the collision, a safety car was deployed, allowing Fernando Alonso, a teammate, to seize the lead and eventually win the race.
Massa and Ferrari were forced to hustle to execute an unplanned pit stop, and everything went wrong. Massa dropped from first to 13th as a result of the poor stop, while Hamilton finished third and increased his championship lead to seven points.
Hamilton finally won the championship in thrilling circumstances at the conclusion of the year thanks to this points swing, depriving Massa of his one last opportunity to win the title. However, that wasn't the last time we would hear about this race.
Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has stated that he wishes to investigate whether there are legal grounds for him to be given the 2008 F1 drivers' world championship, which was won by a young Lewis Hamilton.
Fans petition to reverse Lewis Hamilton's victory in Abu Dhabi 2021
December 12th, 2021, will be permanently engraved in F1 history, and the response to the contentious finale is still as fresh as it was over 18 months ago.
Masi reappeared in public at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, and his reappearance was questioned by some sections of the F1 media, and Lewis Hamilton made it clear that he had no intention of speaking with him about what happened in the 2021 season finale.
F1 fans responded strongly as well, as an ongoing petition started on Change.Org by Patel Gordon-Bennett to protest the result of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is still receiving signatures.