Mercedes drops F1 appeal and congratulates Verstappen

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by Alan Baldwin

LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team abandoned its plans to appeal the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result on Thursday, congratulating Max Verstappen as Formula One world champion.

Red Bull’s Verstappen claimed the title after overtaking seven-time world champion Hamilton on the final lap of the race, amid much controversy over the way the Safety Car worked.

The 24-year-old Dutch driver will collect his trophy at an awards ceremony in Paris on Thursday night.

Mercedes welcomed the decision announced yesterday by the world motor governing body, the FIA, which said it will analyze what happened at Yas Marina and provide more clarity for the future.

“We will hold the FIA ​​responsible for this process and therefore withdraw our appeal,” said the team, which announced its intention to appeal after two post-race protests were dismissed. The deadline was Thursday night.

“We left Abu Dhabi not believing what we had just witnessed. Of course, it is part of the game to lose a race, but it is something different when you lose faith in racing,” Mercedes said.

“Together with Lewis, we have carefully deliberated how to respond to events … We have always been guided by our love of the sport and we believe that all competitions should be won on merit,” he said. “In Sunday’s race, many felt, including us, that the way things unfolded was not right.”

Mercedes also congratulated Verstappen “on his accomplishments this season” as “you made this fight for the Formula One championship title truly epic. Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to the next level. track next season. “

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