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F1 Stewards Reject Both Mercedes' Protests To Officially Give Max Verstappen Victory

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F1 Stewards Reject Both Mercedes' Protests To Officially Give Max Verstappen Victory

Formula 1 Stewards have rejected both protests from Mercedes to officially confirm Max Verstappen as the 2021 World Champion.

Fans have said Lewis Hamilton was robbed after what happened in the dying stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Mercedes believed Verstappen's win was unjust because of the safety car that was brought on following Nicholas Latifi's crash with six laps to go on the track.

Lewis Hamilton had been up front for almost all of the race, but was overtaken on the final lap by his Belgian-Dutch opponent.

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He had been on the same tyres since lap 14, while Verstappen had fresh tyres introduced late on in the race. The safety car allowed one final lap of racing and Verstappen's fresh tyres proved to make the difference.

Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI
Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Despite Hamilton getting into the slipstream, Verstappen managed to block it off and take home the win and his first championship.

Mercedes lodged two protests after the race was completed, hoping it would overturn the result and hand Hamilton a record eighth world title.

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However, the FIA Stewards have rejected both suggestions and have officially confirmed Verstappen and Red Bull as the 2021 World Champions.

The two protests focused on both the restart and the result: one relating to Verstappen undertaking under the safety car; another relating to the safety car procedure itself, and why only a certain number of lapped cars were allowed to pass by before the restart.

Motorsport reports that the first protest surrounded Article 48.8 of the sporting regulations, which says 'no driver may overtake another car on the track, including the safety car, until he passes the Line (see Article 5.3) for the first time after the safety car has returned to the pits'.

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The Stewards concluded: "Having considered the various statements made by the parties. The Stewards determine that although Car 33 did at one stage, for a very short period of time, move slightly in front of Car 44, at a time when both cars where accelerating and braking, it moved back behind Car 44 and it was not in front when the Safety Car period ended (i.e. at the line)."

The second protest was based on Article 48.12, which states that 'any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car'.

Despite the result being a tad controversial, Hamilton was nothing but respectful to Verstappen, even though he could have finally overtaken Michael Schumacher's record if he was crowned the victor.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: "Firstly congratulations to Max and to his team.

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"I think we did an amazing job this year. My team, everyone back at the factory, have worked so hard this whole year, it's been the most difficult of seasons.

"I'm so proud of them and I'm so grateful to be a part of the journey with them. This last part of the season we gave it absolutely everything and we never gave up."

Featured Image Credit: Antonin Vincent / DPPI

Topics: SPORT, News, Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1

Stewart Perrie
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