I spoke up for Hamilton because he speaks up for others says fan behind Abu Dhabi petition · RaceFans

A petition to declare Lewis Hamilton the winner of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has reached the milestone of over 100,000 signatures.

Hamilton’s controversial defeat in the race, following a final-lap restart in which he was passed by Max Verstappen, cost him that year’s world championship to his Red Bull rival.

The petition calls for the result of the season finale to be overturned and Hamilton declared the winner as the rules were not followed when race director Michael Masi arranged the restart. Masi only allowed the lapped cars between Verstappen and Hamilton to rejoin the lead lap, ignoring the others which were a lap behind.

Hamilton’s team Mercedes filed a protest against the race result, which was dismissed by the FIA. The team later chose not to take the matter to the FIA International Court of Appeal.

However Patel Gordon-Bennett – who has no affiliation to any of the drivers or teams who were in that race – believed the outcome was an “injustice” and began a petition on Change.org soon after the chequered flag fell on the 2021 season.

“I started the petition a few hours that evening after the race on December 12th, 2021,” she told RaceFans. “I was in my living room watching the race on Sky Sports F1 with my family.

“As soon as we saw the injustice, we were in shock and disbelief. I felt that this was a scheme to rob Mercedes and Lewis just as it was when they changed the rules to suit Red Bull’s car.”

Mercedes initially struggled to compete with Red Bull in 2021 following an off-season rules change which forced teams to redesign their floors. This was done in order to cut downforce and reduce the strain on Pirelli’s tyres following a series of failures the previous season.

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Hamilton’s eagerness to draw attention to causes such as diversity and the environment was an inspiration to the founder of the petition.

“Lewis had always been speaking out on other’s behalf – the disadvantaged, the disenfranchised and those without a voice,” she said. “I felt it was time we spoke up to help Lewis when he was being faced with injustice.

“In addition, it was disgraceful to the sport to see how one person can change the rules in the spur of the moment to get the result they want. If this was going to be F1, I did not want to be a part of it.”

Following an investigation the FIA concluded Masi had acted in “good faith” but “human error lead to the fact that not all cars were allowed to un-lap themselves.” Masi lost his job as F1 race director over his handling of the race.

The report referred to radio communications broadcast by F1 of Masi’s exchanges with Mercedes and Red Bull, which included the latter pressuring him to move the lapped cars out of the way during the Safety Car period. It was stated in the report that the race result remains “valid, final and cannot now be changed.”

Having started the petition almost a year and a half ago, Gordon-Bennett was taken by surprise when it began to rapidly amass signatures in recent weeks.

“I didn’t expect many signatures and in fact I had almost forgotten about it,” she said. “I was quite surprised when a friend from Ghana texted me a few days ago to say they saw my name in The Mirror newspaper as the person who started this petition and how it had gained 80,000 signatures. I have no idea what has caused an increase in the signatures recently.”

The petition is yet to prompt a response from anyone in F1, she added. “No feedback from anyone in motorsport or F1 or from Hamilton. From the latter, it would be marvellous just to meet him.”

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