Toto Wolff’s ‘private text’ to Verstappen as Mercedes consider dropping appeal

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reportedly sent a congratulatory text message to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in the wake of his World Championship win at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Wolff, who owns a 30% share in the German constructor, was probably more shellshocked than anyone at the way events unfolded at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Verstappen, 24, won his first title under the most dramatic of circumstances, capitalising on a late safety car and some questionable decisions from Michael Masi to pass Lewis Hamilton on the final lap.

Masi's decision to allow the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to overtake the safety car on the final lap of the race sparked fury in the Mercedes garage.

"You need to reinstate the lap before, that's not right," Wolff said on the radio following the decision, before Masi fired back with: "It's called a motor race – we went car racing."

While Red Bull chief Christian Horner celebrated Verstappen's win, a shellshocked Wolff could not believe what he had just witnessed and refused interviews with the media.

Mercedes immediately protested two incidents that occurred in the closing stages of the race, but both were promptly rejected by the FIA.

Should Mercedes appeal the decision again? Let us know in the comments section.

The dominant constructor later announced their intention to appeal one of those decisions, although it now appears they are planning to drop that appeal for the good of the sport.

In a new development, it appears Wolff has conceded the battle for the world title is over after reportedly sending a text message to Verstappen congratulating him on his success.

Sky Sports News presenter Craig Slater claims: "Max Verstappen told me that Toto Wolff, the Mercedes boss, had sent him a text message, congratulating him on being World Champion and saying that he fully deserved it, so make of that what you will.

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"I haven't heard anything from Mercedes about them deciding not to proceed with that protest."

Mercedes were given 96 hours to launch a further appeal, but it appears they are now prepared to accept the result of the decider in Abu Dhabi.

If that is the case, Verstappen will officially be crowned F1 champion for the very first time at the FIA's prize-giving ceremony on Thursday.

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