Mercedes ‘consider SCRAPPING plans to launch a further appeal against Max Verstappen’s controversial world championship triumph as team lean towards protecting Formula One’s reputation ahead of desire to see Lewis Hamilton win an eighth title’
- Mercedes were left furious after Max Verstappen won the 2021 F1 drivers’ title
- Lewis Hamilton led until the last lap, when the Red Bull star overtook him
- Controversial finish came after a safety car restart and a bold move from the FIA
- It is being reported that Mercedes are considering scrapping their next appeal
Mercedes are reportedly considering scrapping their plans to launch a further appeal against the controversial nature of Max Verstappen’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix win.
A hugely contentious final race in Abu Dhabi on Sunday saw the Dutchman overtake Lewis Hamilton with just seconds remaining after a safety car was brought out with just a few laps to go.
With Hamilton seemingly easing his way to the title, Nicholas Latifi’s crash bunched the field, before the late FIA decision to take lapped cars out of the equation enabled Verstappen to make his move on the Mercedes man on the final lap.
Toto Wolff was left furious after Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton had the title snatched from him
Hamilton led for most of the race in Abu Dhabi, but was then overtaken on the very last lap
Masi had originally said that the lapped cars would not be allowed to unlap themselves but after a word from Red Bull chief Horner, Masi changed his mind, allowing the five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves, wiping out the Brit’s 13-second advantage.
Hamilton was unable to defend, given he was on much older tyres, while Verstappen was on fresh, new soft tyres after he pitted during the safety car, leading to the Dutchman pulling off a dramatic overtake and winning his first ever world title.
Mercedes lodged two complaints with the FIA after the race, but both were rejected to confirm Verstappen’s place at the top of the sport.
The team now have until Thursday to decide whether they want to take their appeal further, with potential court action possible in the coming weeks.
Verstappen’s fresher tyres allowed him to dive down beyond Hamilton and then win the title
Verstappen celebrates with his team in the pit-lane after being crowned world champion
Sportsmail reported on Sunday night that Mercedes were involved in high-level discussions over their next move, with team principal Toto Wolff locked in talks with the team’s barrister, Paul Harris QC, a distinguished sports lawyer who has acted for Premier League football clubs, including Manchester City and Liverpool.
However, The Times report that the team are leaning towards putting the reputation of the sport before any desire to see Hamilton crowned world champion for an eighth time.
If they did decide to curtail their protests, it would bring the curtain down on a spectacular 2021 season, in which Verstappen won the drivers’ title and Mercedes tied up yet another constructors’ trophy.
Christian Horner is said to have flown straight back to the UK and is in contact with Red Bull HQ
On Sunday night, while Mercedes spoke with their legal representatives in Abu Dhabi, it is understood that Christian Horner flew straight home to begin liaising with Red Bull HQ in Austria.
They are said to be preparing a robust legal defence against any potential action from Mercedes, but the news that their rivals could stand down will come as a welcome boost.
Any decision will have to come by Thursday, given that is the date of the prize-giving gala, and the rules state a championship winner must be decided by then.
Verstappen did not appear to be worried about any potential retrospective action as he partied with his girlfriend and friends in the wake of his title-winning afternoon.
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