Mercedes lodges protest against Abu Dhabi F1 race outcome


Mercedes has announced its decision to protest the result of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP on two grounds, after its controversial ending saw Max Verstappen snatch the title from Lewis Hamilton

Toto Wolff after the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix

Mercedes has announced its decision to protest the result of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP


Mercedes has announced two protests it has lodged with the FIA after today’s dramatic Abu Dhabi GP, which saw Max Verstappen snatch the world title from Lewis Hamilton after a controversial safety car decision by race director Michael Masi.

Hamilton looked to have the race and title sewn up in the closing stages as he maintained a 12sec gap over the Dutchman, his superior pace on race day meaning Red Bull’s attempts at alternate tyre strategy hadn’t paid off, despite the Mercedes driver having Pirellis which were the best part of 50 laps old.

However, a Nicholas Latifi crash in the closing stages and resultant safety car bunched up the field, before a controversial decision by Michael Masi to let only the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen past, allowed a last lap showdown between the two title contenders, with the latter winning out.

Mercedes says that it feels the decision and outcome were both wrong, and have now indicated that it has “protested the classification established at the end of the competition”, feeling that the circumstances in which the race ended influenced the its outcome.

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The team believe the allowing of only some lapped cars through contravened the procedure described in article 48.12 of F1’s sporting regulations, underpinning its protest.

This article says 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.”

“Once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.”

It believes it also has grounds on which to protest due to the fact that Verstappen appeared to move slightly ahead of Hamilton at least once before the restart, as Hamilton backed up the pack in an attempt to get a strong getaway.

Mercedes is protesting on article 48.8 on this matter, which states that unless an exception applies, “no driver may overtake another car on the track, including the safety car, until he passes the [safety car] line for the first time after the safety car has returned to the pits.”

When asked for his reaction to the protests, Verstappen said, “I think it sums up a little bit the season.”