Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out
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Mercedes are preparing to drop their plans to appeal the race result from Sunday’s controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton informed the Silver Arrows that he does not want to win his eighth world title in court, according to reports. The Brit was cruelly denied a record-breaking Drivers’ Championship triumph on the final lap, with Max Verstappen forcing his way into the lead in order to clinch his maiden title in dramatic circumstances.
The Dutchman reaped the rewards of a late safety car period following Nicholas Latifi’s crash, with race director Michael Masi initially declaring that lapped cars would not be allowed to unlap themselves as the damage was cleared.
He went on to change his mind, instructing only the five lapped drivers between Hamilton and Verstappen to overtake the safety car just moments before it was called in ahead of the one-lap shootout that followed.
This allowed the latter, who was on much fresher tyres than his Mercedes rival, to close the gap and force his way up the inside on the final lap to clinch the end-of-season honours.
Mercedes quickly saw two post-race protests waved away by the FIA but went on to submit notice of their intention to appeal, giving them a 96-hour window to follow up.
However, it seems as though a fresh bid to overturn Sunday’s result will not be made over the coming days.
JUST IN: Max Verstappen refuses to show sympathy for Lewis Hamilton
The Silver Arrows have decided to ditch their plans to appeal and will announce the news on Thursday, according to the Daily Mail.
It is said that Hamilton has asked his team to stand down in order to avoid a long and drawn-out battle to overturn Verstappen’s first title.
Although the 36-year-old was deeply hurt by the manner of his defeat in Abu Dhabi, he does not think that it would be in the sport’s best interests to go down the legal route.
Meanwhile, those in command at Mercedes have alsoreportedly been placated by an FIA statement insisting that plenty of lessons will be learnt from Sunday’s debacle ahead of next season.
“Following the presentation of a report regarding the sequence of events that took place following the incident on lap 53, and in a constant drive for improvement, the FIA president proposed to the World Motor Sport Council that a detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future with all relevant parties will now take place,” read the statement, which was released on Wednesday.
“This will be discussed and addressed with all the teams and drivers to draw any lessons from this situation and clarity to be provided to the participants, media and fans about the regulations to preserve the competitive nature of our sport while ensuring the safety of the drivers.
“Following that presentation and an extensive discussion, the World Council has decided to unanimously support the president’s proposal.”
The development came on the same day that Hamilton was formally knighted for services to motorsport by the Prince of Wales in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.
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