Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes Michael Schumacher is still the only seven-time F1 world champion, as he believes Lewis Hamilton won his first world title because he was lucky and his rival, Felipe Massa, was cheated .
Ecclestone is of course talking about the 2008 season, where Hamilton won the title on the last lap of the last race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix.
But the season was marked by the Singapore Grand Prix, where the Renault team manipulated the course of the race when Fernando Alonso made an unexpected pit stop, shortly after his team-mate Nelson Piquet crashed into the protective wall and caused a crucial safety car phase.
Ecclestone has now admitted that he and the FIA president at the time, Max Mosley, did not want the scandal revealed. "During the season, Max and I were informed about what happened at the race in Singapore," he said.
“Nelson Piquet Jr. told his father, Nelson Piquet, that he had been instructed by the team to deliberately crash into the wall at a specific moment on a specific part of the track, triggering a safety car phase that would help his team-mate Alonso to victory.
We decided not to take action at that time, because we wanted to protect the sport from a big scandal."
The 92-year-old Briton therefore believes that Michael Schumacher is the only true seven-time world champion. "We had enough information to investigate the matter, but the rules dictated that under these conditions the race should be declared irregular. This would not affect the classification of the championship and the world champion would be Felipe Massa, not Lewis Hamilton.”
Ecclestone admitted that he felt sorry for Massa today. "He won the final race of the season in Sao Paulo, he did everything right, but he was cheated of the title he deserved, while Hamilton had a lot of luck and won his first title. I would have done it differently today, so in my opinion Michael Schumacher is still the only record holder for the number of titles. Even if the statistics say otherwise."
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