Nicholas Latifi’s crash led to the chaos that played out with the deployed safety car in Abu Dhabi last December.
Williams driver Nicholas Latifi has revealed he hired a bodyguard when making a trip to the UK, over fears he would be attacked by a fan of Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton and his fans were left heartbroken last December, after the Englishman was denied a record eighth world title on the final lap of the season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in controversial circumstances.
The controversy came after Latifi crashed on the Yas Marina circuit late on forcing a safety car to be deployed.
As a result Hamilton, who had a comfortable lead, had his lengthy advantage over title rival Max Verstappen wiped out after race director Michael Masi contentiously called a number of lapped cars between the leading pair to pass the safety car.
This left Hamilton and Verstappen almost neck-and-neck, and the title rivals were left to play out a one-lap shootout to decide the world championship.
Remarkably it was the Dutchman who prevailed as he was able to pass the seven-time world champion with much fresher tyres to go on to secure his maiden world title.
The dramatic finish sent shockwaves through the sporting world, with those on Hamilton’s side feeling the Englishman had his record championship robbed.
While Latifi didn’t play a direct role in the finish, it seems the Canadian felt somewhat guilty for Hamilton’s loss and feared the Englishman’s fans could well take it out on him.
After visiting London recently he said: “It might sound silly but at the end of the day you don’t know how serious people are.
“All it needs is one drunk fan at an airport, or you bump into someone who is having a bad day and is intoxicated and has really extreme opinions.
“It takes just that one-in-a-million person. When I was back in London, I had security with me at Winter Wonderland.”
One man who is set to feel the effects of the Abu Dhabi drama, is director Masi who could lose his race director role following an inquiry into the finish by the FIA.
While the results of the governing body’s report are still unknown, reports are suggesting FIA president Muhammed ben Sulayem has revealed there will be a ‘reorganisation’ and the Australian is one who is expected to be moved aside from his current role.