Verstappen wins 2021 F1 world championship
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A Red Bull representative has taken aim at Mercedes for bringing a barrister with them to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and using them in their protest after the race on Sunday. Max Verstappen took the chequered flag at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to clinch his first F1 world championship, but controversy has spilled over into the night with Mercedes lodging two protests.
Lewis Hamilton looked to have the championship sewn up before Nicholas Latifi crashed out, forcing a safety car to be brought out.
Confusion then followed as the safety car was about to come back in with one lap remaining.
The FIA initially announced the five lapped cars between Verstappen and Hamilton on track would stay where they are, but Michael Masi reversed his decision to allow the Red Bull driver to close up to his championship rival.
Toto Wolff protested the decision on team radio and was clearly irate at what Masi had done.
For Verstappen, he took full advantage of the opportunity with one lap remaining and on fresher soft tyres to overtake Hamilton and be crowned world champion.
But while Red Bull were in the midst of their celebrations, Wolff trudged off to his Mercedes office.
And two protests were immediately lodged to the FIA over the outcome of the race.
One protest was based on Mercedes complaining that Verstappen had overtaken Hamilton during the safety car period, although that has since been dismissed.
The more serious matter that was an alleged breach of Article 48.12 of the FIA Sporting Regulations “against the classification established at the end of the competition”.
It was later confirmed that Mercedes had brought in a barrister to look over the incident to help their case.
And F1 reporter Ian Parkes has spoken with a represenative at Red Bull, who mocked Mercedes for their plan of action.
The Red Bull spokesperson said: “We are a Formula 1 race. We came here to race. We did not come here with a QC (barrister) to protest.”
Red Bull’s celebrations on Verstappen’s victory were certainly muted by Mercedes’ protest.
Lewis Hamilton was graceful in defeat, shaking hands with Verstappen in the pit-lane before congratulating his championship rival.
But the seven-time world champion was absent from the post-race press conference where Verstappen was asked to give his response to Mercedes’ protest.
He said: “Not much to add, I think it sums up a little bit this season.”
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