GEORGE RUSSELL says 'mistakes' by race chiefs robbed Lewis Hamilton of last season's Formula One title.
Russell, who has just become Hamilton's new team-mate at Mercedes, aired his views at the launch of the team's new W13 car.
Hamilton was on course to win a record eighth Drivers' championship crown before being denied by a controversial call in the season finale race in Abu Dhabi in December.
A complicated and disputed decision by recently sacked race director Michael Masi allowed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to pip Hamilton on the final lap and claim the title.
The FIA's new set-up means a team of race directors will now be supported by video referees when it comes to making mid-race decisions.
But that will be little comfort to Hamilton – and Russell has sympathy for his new team-mate.
Former Williams star Russell, 24, said: "He had that race completely under control.
“He only had to bring it home and he would have been an eight-time champion and he had that taken away from him.”
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He added: "Mistakes happen when the heat of the moment is on and people’s emotions are high.
"In sport, there is always a huge amount of pressure on every individual, whether it be the athlete, the coach, the manager, the engineers, the referee or the race director.
"We've all come to the agreement that what happened in Abu Dhabi was incorrect and the changes have been made because of the outcome of Abu Dhabi."
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