Mercedes Protest as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is Crowned F1 Campions


Mercedes have lodged two official protests following the hugely dramatic end to the Abu Dhabi GP that saw Max Verstappen move ahead of Lewis Hamilton to clinch the race and title win.

In another twist to an incredible championship, Mercedes have alleged a breach against the classification after the late decision regarding lapped cars, and against Verstappen for overtaking Hamilton under the Safety Car.

Mercedes’ protests follow late controversy at Yas Marina, as a Safety Car wiped Hamilton’s big advantage out in front and allowed Verstappen to pit for fresh soft tyres but still stay second in the title decider.

There were five lapped cars between Verstappen and Hamilton as of Lap 57 of 58, although F1 Race Control then allowed those cars to un-lap themselves before signalling an end of the Safety Car period, leading to one final lap of the race and championship.

Utilising his tyre advantage, Verstappen passed Hamilton into Turn 5 to, seemingly, clinch his maiden title.

But Mercedes are protesting “against the classification established at the end of the competition”, alleging a breach of Article 48.12 of the FIA Sporting Regulations which states that “any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car”.

Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Mick Schumacher, who had been lapped but were not in between Hamilton and Verstappen like the other five cars, did not un-lap themselves.

They are also querying Verstappen’s conduct under the Safety Car. Article 48.8 of the same regulations is: “No driver may overtake another car on the track, including the safety car, until he passes the line for the first time after the safety car has returned to the pits.”

Mercedes have not yet given any post-race TV interviews and Hamilton was not in the usual press conference alongside Verstappen. Told of their protests, Verstappen, who has spent lots of time with the stewards this year, said: “Not much to say about that. I think that sums up a little bit the season.”

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