Lewis Hamilton feud with Max Verstappen continues as star’s main sponsor make ‘correction’

Lewis Hamilton is a record eight-time Formula One world champion – according to a Puma store advert in the Czech Republic. The Mercedes ace was cruelly denied the world title last season in his tense battle with fierce rival Max Verstappen.

The duo were incredibly level on points heading into the final race in Abu Dhabi after a brilliant battle. Hamilton led for most of the event until a safety car was deployed due to a crash involving Nicholas Latifi.

In a dramatic turn of events, race director Michael Masi allowed five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap before the final lap was restarted. Verstappen, on softer tyres, whizzed around Hamilton to win his first-ever world championship.

It was apt that such a wonderful contest between two drivers would come down to the final lap of the season – but the way in which it happened was mightily controversial. Mercedes had two protests thrown out before threatening to go to court over Masi’s decision, claiming the Australian misinterpreted FIA rules.

 

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen was crowned world champion in 2021 (Image: GETTY)

Many believe that Hamilton should have been crowned champion for a record eighth time, surpassing Michael Schumacher. And it appears that the 37-year-old’s sponsors, Puma, agree.

A store in Czech Republic displays a poster promoting Mercedes merchandise. The strapline reads: “Lewis Hamilton – 8-times FIA Formula One Drivers’ Champion”.

Of course, Hamilton only has seven world championships after losing out to Verstappen. It is unclear if the poster is merely a typo, or if Puma are still really unhappy about last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

unhappy about last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

It seems unlikely that the Brit will win back his title this year, either, given his struggles in the Mercedes W13 car. He has been suffering from bouncing during the majority of races this season and has finished on the podium only once.

Hamilton trails Verstappen by 75 points but has said that he cannot think about next season until this year’s problems have been fixed. He said last week: “I’ve really not thought about that (next year’s car design). I think we’ve got to figure out what’s wrong with this car before we can make another car. If we just started making another car we could easily get it wrong.

“So I think it’s about getting on top of this one fully, which we still haven’t got on top of and then give us a guideline of where [to go].”

But he added on the future design: “there’s definitely loads of things that I would not want from this car onto next year’s car, so I’ve already put those in.”

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