Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out
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Mercedes have officially announced that they will not be launching an appeal over Lewis Hamilton’s controversial defeat at Sunday’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Silver Arrows were left incensed by race director Michael Masi’s handling of the last few laps, which saw Max Verstappen pip his British rival to Drivers’ Championship glory in dramatic fashion at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The Dutchman reaped the rewards of a late safety car period following Nicholas Latifi’s crash, with Masi initially ruling that lapped cars would not be permitted to unlap themselves.
He went on to change his mind, instructing only the five lapped drivers between the two leaders to overtake the safety car just moments before it was called in ahead of the one-lap shootout that followed.
This allowed Verstappen, who was on much fresher tyres than Hamilton, to close the gap to his rival and force his way ahead on the final lap to clinch the end-of-season honours.
Mercedes quickly protested the race result but saw their complaints waved away by the FIA, who declared that Masi acted within the rules.
The Silver Arrows went on to submit notice of their intention to appeal but later announced via Twitter that proceedings had been dropped ahead of Thursday’s deadline.
JUST IN: Max Verstappen wades into Michael Masi row as he gives verdict
“We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed,” a lengthy statement read.
“Of course, it’s part of the game to lose a race, but it’s something different when you lose faith in racing.
“Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events of the Formula One season finale. We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit.
“In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.
“The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the safety car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the world championship.
“We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula One to create clarity for the future, so that all the competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.
“Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula One.
“We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.”
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