AFP
Wire Service
3 minute read
12 Dec 2021
8:43 pm

Mercedes lodge appeals over Verstappen’s Abu Dhabi GP win

AFP

Mercedes are contesting safety car procedure which resulted in Verstappen overtaking Hamilton on a frantic final lap to clinch the world championship.

2021 FIA Formula One World Champion Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen walks past second-placed Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) on the podium of the Yas Marina Circuit after the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix on December 12, 2021. - Max Verstappen became the first Dutchman ever to win the Formula One world championship title when he won a dramatic season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on December 12, 2021. The Red Bull driver won his 10th race of the season to finish ahead of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)

Mercedes have lodged two appeals over Max Verstappen’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix win over Lewis Hamilton on Sunday.

Mercedes are contesting safety car procedure which resulted in Verstappen overtaking Hamilton on a frantic final lap to clinch the world championship.

“Mercedes have protested ‘against the classification established at the end of the Competition’, relating to alleged breaches of Articles 48.8 and 48.12 of the FIA Sporting Regulations,” Formula One tweeted.  

Hamilton had been coasting to victory, his eighth world title seemingly in the bag.

ALSO READ: Max Verstappen edges Lewis Hamilton to win F1 world title

Four laps from the end, however, Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams, bringing out the safety car and prompting Verstappen to pit for fresh tyres.

When racing resumed for the 58th and closing lap Verstappen barged past Hamilton to take the chequered flag and the title. 

‘Super Max’ Verstappen sparks joy in Netherlands

Max Verstappen fans erupted in joy in the Netherlands after the Dutchman won the first Formula One title of his career in a winner-takes-all last lap at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The fans rode a rollercoaster of emotions in the Bar Club 188 in the Hague, as pole position holder Verstappen saw Lewis Hamilton blast past him in the opening seconds of the race.

Just when it seemed Hamilton had secured his eighth world title, a crash involving Nicholas Latifi effectively set up a one-lap race for the title between Verstappen and Hamilton that the 24-year-old Dutchman won. 

“What an unbelievable end. I have lost my voice,” Tom Alsem, 30, said, his eyes glued to a TV screen showing the driver nicknamed “Super Max” hugging his Red Bull team mechanics in Abu Dhabi.

Like the Verstappen fans following the race in the Gulf, Alsem was dressed head to toe in orange.

His friends dashed to the bar to order a new round of beers, before toasting their idol with cries of “Oh Max!”.

“A historic day for Dutch sport,” tweeted Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte after what he called “a bizarre race”. “Max Verstappen, congratulations for this phenomenal performance. Really fantastic,” he added.

In the orange-decked bar in the Hague and in a cafe in Zandvoort near the circuit where the Dutch Grand Prix is held, the fans had a nerve-shredding day.

“I hope he’ll win but Hamilton often gets a bit of luck at the crucial moments,” keen F1 fan Paul Meester, 61, told AFP as he watched the start of the race in the Hague.

Two hours later, he said: “I told my friend he won’t win, it’s finished.”

But within minutes, the race had turned on its head and Verstappen took the chequered flag.

Niels, 34, said at the start of the race he had a bad feeling because “Max is so unpredictable…he could lose it in a rush of blood.”

By the end, he was hailing Verstappen’s “immense performance”, saying it was one of the greatest moments ever in the history of Dutch sport, normally dominated by football.

The best-known player in the Dutch team, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, tweeted: “WHAT A BOSS”.