F1: Mercedes confirm they have WITHDRAWN their appeal against the FIA Max Verstappen’s title win

Mercedes confirm they have WITHDRAWN their appeal against the FIA over Lewis Hamilton’s controversial loss of the F1 world title, cementing Max Verstappen’s first championship success for Red Bull

Mercedes have confirmed they are withdrawing their protest over Max Verstappen’s controversial drivers’ championship victory following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Dutchman passed Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the last race of the season to snatch the crown from under the Brit’s nose following a controversial period of running under the safety car.

In fury, Mercedes had lodged an appeal over the result, but have now decided against the procedure following talks with the governing body of F1.

Sportsmail had exclusively revealed on Wednesday that Hamilton had told the team he did not want to win what would have been a record eighth world championship in court. 

Hamilton had been set to win comfortably at the Yas Marina circuit before Nicholas Latifi’s Williams crashed with just a few laps to go.

This enabled Red Bull to pit for fresher tyres, as well as close a gap to Hamilton under the safety car that was brought out following the crash and prevents overtaking while it is on the circuit while slowing down all the drivers.

However, on the penultimate lap a unique occurrence appeared when only the lapped drivers between Hamilton and Verstappen were allowed to unlap themselves instead of the whole field lapped cars, and was rushed to ensure a final lap dash for the flag and ultimately the title would take place. 

In this scenario, Hamilton was a sitting duck with much older tyres allowing Verstappen to make an easy pass on the final lap to deny the Mercedes driver a title which would have taken him clear of Michael Schumacher’s record of seven championships. 

Mercedes confirmed their withdrawal with a post on Twitter, reading: ‘We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course it’s part of the game to lose a race, but it’s something different when you lose faith in racing.

‘Together we have deliberated. We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.

‘The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the Safety Car regulations were applies in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the world championship.

‘We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all the competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.

‘Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of the rules, governance and decision making of Formula One. We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.

‘The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with his commission to build a better Formula 1 – for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do. We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.’


More to follow… 

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