Max Verstappen crossed the finish line of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in first position after overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the last lap thanks to the appearance of a Safety Car that raised great controversy within the Mercedes team.
Those of Brackley protested a protest for two different reasons with the intention that the FIA would take away the victory from the Red Bull driver so that Lewis Hamilton would be crowned champion again in 2021 to become the most successful driver in the Solo F1.
After more than five hours of discussions, the FIA stewards decided to reject the two Mercedes protests and it was confirmed that Max Verstappen was the new Formula 1 world champion, but after this announcement, Mercedes did not sit idly by.
“We have submitted our intention to appeal Document 58 / the stewards’ decision to reject the team’s protest,” said a Mercedes spokesman after the aftermath of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race.
The Mercedes team protested for an alleged failure to comply with Article 48.12 of the regulations .
It states that “any car that is lapped by the leader must pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car to make up the lost lap” and “once the last car has passed the leader, the safety car could go back to the pits at the end of the next lap.
The Germans allege that the Safety Car had been withdrawn on the same lap in which the group of lapped drivers overtook the leader (Hamilton at the time) and the safety car, for which the regulation was allegedly broken. Although from the FIA they rejected the protest assuring that ” article 48.13 annuls that and that by publishing the message that refers to the ‘safety car leaving on this lap’ they are obliged to withdraw it immediately.
The other protest from Mercedes claimed that Verstappen had overtaken Hamilton during the Safety Car , but the stewards explained that although this had happened for a very short period of time, the #33 was behind the #44 at the exact moment , so what said fleeting movement did not influence absolutely nothing.
Finally, and despite the fact that both protests were formally rejected by the FIA, Mercedes has decided to present its intention to appeal the decision and could take this even further if it confirms its appeal in the next 96 hours, the maximum period established .