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Motor racing: Mercedes protest after Verstappen beats Hamilton to F1 title

By Reuters | December 12th 2021 | 2 min read
December 12, 2021 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton looks dejected after finishing second in the race and the world championship Pool via REUTERS

Mercedes protested on Sunday after Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and beat their seven-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 world title with a last lap overtake.

The team, who still secured the constructors' crown for a record eighth year in a row, protested two alleged breaches of the sporting regulations when the safety car was deployed late in the race.

A statement from the stewards said Mercedes had protested "against the classification established at the end of the competition", arguing there was a breach of article 48.12.

Verstappen had back markers between him and Hamilton after pitting with the safety car deployed and time running out for racing to resume.

December 12, 2021 Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race and the world championship with the Netherlands flag on the podium as Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton looks dejected after finishing second REUTERS

Race director Michael Masi decided that only the five lapped cars between the two title rivals should be allowed to unlap themselves, instead of all lapped cars as is the usual procedure.

In a second protest, Mercedes also argued that article 48.8 was breached with Verstappen's car moving in front of Hamilton's before racing resumed as he waited impatiently for the Briton to lead away.

It is illegal to overtake, unless authorised to do so, while the safety car is on track.

Mercedes said they would make no further comment until after the hearing.

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