Lewis Hamilton admits Red Bull’s budget cap breach has triggered ‘spirit-breaking’ memories of his controversial title defeat by Max Verstappen on final lap last season

Lewis Hamilton thought he had laid to rest the ghost of dramatically losing the Formula One title in Abu Dhabi last December. But the Mercedes driver has admitted the grim memories came flooding back once he learned of Red Bull’s budget cap breach from last season. The seven-time world champion was on course to claim his eighth title in Abu Dhabi last year until raced director Michael Masi controversially applied safety car rules, ultimately favouring Max Verstappen who overtook Hamilton in the final laps. ‘Because you kind of buried it and moved on and then it comes back up and it’s like another bit of a kick. Mercedes have endured a significant drop-off in pace in comparison to last season, with neither Russell nor Hamilton claiming a race win this year. The 37-year-old’s closest shot at a race win came in Austin last weekend, but Verstappen overtook him in the closing stages to claim the victory.

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