SportF1Verstappen, on the Mercedes protest: "It sums up the...

Verstappen, on the Mercedes protest: "It sums up the season"

Verstappen claimed his first F1 world championship in a dramatic finish to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, passing championship rival Hamilton on the last lap to win the race.

Race management had brought out the safety car after an accident involving Nicholas Latifi, but Michael Masi asked that the appointment be resumed with one lap to go.

At first they did not allow the lapped cars to overtake the peloton, but then they did let Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel through.

However, several other single-seaters with lost laps did not receive the same request, leading Mercedes to file a protest for a possible infringement of article 48.12 of the sporting regulations.

Mercedes also filed a second claim under article 48.8 of the regulations which says that drivers cannot overtake the car in front during a Safety Car period, and Verstappen almost did (or did slightly at Turn 12) Hamilton. before reboot.

Asked by Motorsport.com what he thought of the Mercedes protest, Verstappen exhaled and replied: “There’s not much to say about it.”

“I think it also kind of sums up this season a little bit.”

In a brief statement issued by Red Bull, team principal Christian Horner said: “We are disappointed that there has been a protest, but we trust the FIA.”

Drivers and representatives from both teams will meet with the FIA stewards on the evening of the Yas Marina after Mercedes lodged protests within the 30-minute time limit required by the regulations.

Explaining how he coped with the last lap restart and overtaking of Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen said he was trying to “react to what his rival is doing” and wanted to “of course try not to be too far behind”.

“I could see he was struggling quite a bit for his hard tires to heat up and I had grip so I was able to stay relatively close,” Verstappen analyzed.

“And of course with the soft tyres, on the first lap you could clearly see that I had more grip. But after Turn 5 there are still two very long straights where you have the opportunity to give it back.

“Everything was very tight between us.”

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