But she was not satisfied with the outcome.
Patrick must have been routing for Hamilton, writing on Twitter on Dec. 12: “Def didn’t seem fair but exciting to watch!”
Former racer Danica Patrick was clued to the drama-filled F1 season
Like Patrick, most F1 fans have opinions on the drama-filled 2021 campaign. There were penalties and fines. Verstappen once illegally touched the wing of Hamilton’s machine and touched off a firestorm. There were controversial moves. They crashed into each other, and often, at the front of the field, they blocked the progress of the other.
Patrick loved the drama, even if she did lean a bit to Hamilton camp.
The seven-time F1 champion entered the season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 12, tied with Verstappen in the drivers’ standings. Hamiton overtook the polesitter Verstappen off the start and cruised mainly in control through 57 of 58 laps.
Hamilton was moments from clinching a record eighth world championship, but along Turn 5, Verstappen pulled off a title-clinching maneuver. He dipped to the inside of Hamilton’s Mercedes and sped to the finish line.
Pointing to the event’s final restart, Mercedes officials immediately filed two post-race protests but were denied.
Patrick sides with Hamilton on believing 2021 F1 title was ‘rigged’
The debate among F1 fans, and celebrities like Patrick, will continue. It proved to be a season for the ages. The images of Hamilton going off the track to gain an advantage and Verstappen applying the brakes at inopportune times will resonate for years.
In the moments following Verstappen’s first F1 world championship, Hamilton called the finish “rigged” and “manipulated.” He hinted at retirement.
The team’s criticisms have softened – slightly – the past few days, as Mercedes has officially withdrawn its protests.
Hamilton even took time on Dec. 15 to become knighted.
Still, Patrick would have preferred if Sir Lewis Hamilton faced the British royalty as a reigning champ. Not as a runner-up.
Patrick could not will Hamilton the the finish line first
If anyone is entitled to an opinion, Patrick does. She recently added motorsports commentator to her lengthy resume, and her driving record gives her enough street cred.
Here is a partial list of her accomplishments:
- Started racing at the age of 10
- The first female to capture an IndyCar event
- 2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
- Fourth female to race in Indianapolis 500
- First female to lead a lap at the Indianapolis 500
- 2005 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year
But watching Hamilton and Verstappen duel over the last lap of the season finale, Patrick just couldn’t will Hamilton to the checkered flag.
Whether she believed it was fair or not.