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Mercedes Still Fighting For Formula One Championship After Appeals Rejected

Jake Massey

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| Last updated 

Mercedes Still Fighting For Formula One Championship After Appeals Rejected

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Max Verstappen clinched the Formula One championship for Red Bull yesterday (Sunday 12 December) in dramatic and controversial fashion - but Mercedes haven't given up fighting for the title just yet.

Verstappen stormed past Mercedes' title rival Lewis Hamilton on the last lap of the season-ending race at the Yas Marina Circuit at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, having benefited from a late safety car that bunched up the pack.

Verstappen clinched the title in dramatic fashion. Credit: Alamy
Verstappen clinched the title in dramatic fashion. Credit: Alamy

Hamilton appeared to be charging to glory, easily holding Verstappen at bay in the closing laps, only for a crash for the Williams of Nicholas Latifi to change the course of events.

Confusion reigned as under-fire race director Michael Masi changed his mind to allow lapped cars to pass the safety car – meaning Verstappen had a clear run at Hamilton in the final lap and, on much faster tyres, made his move to claim a first F1 title.

Mercedes immediately launched two appeals against the result - one against Verstappen for allegedly overtaking under a safety car and a second claiming a breach of rules regarding race restarts following a safety car period.

Both were dismissed after the two teams spent hours in the stewards’ office, with Verstappen finally able to celebrate his title more than four hours after crossing the finish line.

However, Mercedes have already lodged an intention to appeal against the decision relating to restarting the race for the final lap.

Horner said Mercedes will continue to fight any appeals. Credit: Alamy
Horner said Mercedes will continue to fight any appeals. Credit: Alamy

Christian Horner, team principal at Red Bull, said they will continue to fight any appeals.

He said: "If they appeal, they appeal.

"We’ll fight them in the appeal court and then in the legal court after that if they were to go that route.

"It (the appeal) obviously felt a little bit desperate but we didn’t want it to finish in front of the stewards.

"They have been great competitors this year and Lewis has been a phenomenal driver. It has had its moments, it has been tense, it has been tough."

He added that Mercedes had made a costly tactical error by not pitting with the safety car.

He said: "At moments it felt like it was slipping away but finally a little bit of good fortune behind the safety car, a great strategy call we don’t understand why Mercedes didn’t take the same option. We made it work.

"We needed the intervention from the racing gods and thank you so much Nicholas Latifi. The safety car came at a crucial moment in the championship.

"It was an important strategy call. The other discussions are a distraction. Mercedes made a mistake by not pitting with the safety car.

"We made the right call, he made it work, we used it to our advantage, he made the pass, he’s the world champion."

Topics: Sport, Formula 1

Jake Massey
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