Max Verstappen remains F1 world champion, Mercedes protest not upheld

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Max Verstappen
F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen's 2021 World Drivers' Championship is no longer under threat after Mercedes' protest against the final classification of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was dismissed by stewards.

Race Stewards concluded that:

"Article 15.3 allows the Race Director to control the use of the safety car, which in our determination includes its deployment and withdrawal. That although Article 48.12 may not have been applied fully, in relation to the safety car returning to the pits at the end of the following lap, Article 48.13 overrides that and once the message “Safety Car in this lap” has been displayed, it is mandatory to withdraw the safety car at the end of that lap."

Decisions made by the Stewards are final, however, competing teams do also have the right to "appeal certain decisions of the Stewards". Mercedes has chosen to exercise this right and appealed the decision of the Stewards.

On the last such occasion, the 2012 F1 season saw Sebastian Vettel's championship win under threat, centered on a pass by Vettel in the final race of the season in Brazil. The race, which ended under the Safety Car, saw him pass Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne, apparently under yellow flag conditions. FIA reviews, however, found no fault with Vettel and ruled in his favor, thereby securing his championship win.

Red Bull defends Max Verstappen's move on Lewis Hamilton

The disputed overtake on Lewis Hamilton by Max Verstappen that resulted in a victory for the Dutchman has been defended by the Austrian team on certain grounds.

Red Bull argued in defense of the protest against Max Verstappen's move on Hamilton during the end of the VSC, saying:

"The Article 48.13 of the Sporting Regulations states that the message “Safety Car in this lap” is the signal that it will enter the pit lane at the end of that lap. That Article 15.3 gives the Race Director “overriding authority” over “the use of the safety car.”

The decision means Red Bull can officially add the 5th victory for a Red Bull driver in the drivers' championship as they get set to put up another intense fight in 2022.

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Edited by Anurag C
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