Mercedes lodge two protests over F1 finale results as rules back Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes have lodged two appeals over the outcome of Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton was overtaken by Red Bull's Max Verstappen in a highly controversial ending.

Hamilton led the race from first corner until the penultimate lap, with Mercedes left furious that some lapped cars were allowed to overtake the safety car following Nicholas Latifi’s crash – and give Verstappen a clear run at his rival.

Team boss Toto Wolff immediately hit out at the decision on the team radio, with Hamilton then missing out on a record eighth world title as fresh tyres helped Verstappen overtake his rival.

Mercedes have now launched two official protests, one concerning Verstappen overtaking Hamilton under safety car conditions just before the restart, and another concerning an alleged incorrect use of safety car procedures under the guidance of Race director Michael Masi.

The first protest read: "Protest by Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team against Car 33, alleged breach of Article 48.8 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations."

The second read: "Protest by Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team against the classification established at the end of the Competition, alleged breach of Article 48.12 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations."

Article 48.8 states: "With the exception of the cases listed under a) to h) below, 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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Despite his disappointment, Hamilton reacted differently to his fans online and congratulated his rival.

He said: "Firstly, congratulations to Max and to his team," Hamilton said moments after losing out.

"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 never gave up."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner thanked the 'racing gods' after the victory.

"It was going to need something from the racing gods,” said Horner.

"The stewards, we felt hard done by [after first lap incident] but they did a great to get the race going again. Credit to Lewis, he’s been phenomenal and that makes the victory even more more valid."

Adding of the controversy: "It’s unheard of to leave the cars un-lapped. They made absolutely the right call. It’s difficult fo the stewards, we all were putting pressure on them, but they absolutely called it right."

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