Verstappen clinches maiden F1 title after Mercedes' protests rejected

Image Source: ANI

Abu Dhabi [UAE], December 13 (ANI): Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed his maiden Formula 1 championship title on Sunday after FIA dismissed Mercedes’ protests over events at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In the title-decider at Yas Marina Circuit, a late Safety Car caused a dramatic finale. Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the very last lap of the race after a Safety Car emerged for Nicholas Latifi’s crash five laps from the end of the 58-lap Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Thirty minutes after the race, the eight-time constructors’ champions protested the final classification, specifically calling into question an “alleged breach of Article 48.12 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations”, while also citing a further breach of Article 48.8 in a separate protest.

A document released by the FIA on Sunday night read: “Article 15.3 allows the Race Director to control the use of the safety car, which in our determination includes its deployment and withdrawal. Although Article 48.12 may not have been applied fully, in relation to the safety car returning to the pits at the end of the following lap, Article 48.13 overrides that and once the message ‘Safety Car in this lap’ has been displayed, it is mandatory to withdraw the safety car at the end of that lap.”

“That notwithstanding Mercedes’ request that the Stewards remediate the matter by amending the classification to reflect the positions at the end of the penultimate lap, this is a step that the Stewards believe is effectively shortening the race retrospectively, and hence not appropriate.”

“Accordingly, the Protest is dismissed,” the statement concluded.

The FIA had just previously denied Mercedes’ protest over an alleged overtake made by Verstappen over Hamilton under the Safety Car.

A statement from a Mercedes spokesperson just after the decision was made announced the team’s intention to appeal the decision. The team have 72 hours to decide whether to appeal fully. (ANI)

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