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Mercedes set to appeal Formula One championship result after controversial finale

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has “lodged a notice of intention” with the FIA that it plans to appeal the governing body’s Sunday dismissal of its initial protests of the results of the driver’s championship-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton began the safety period ahead of several lapped cars.
(GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

The race ended in a one-lap shootout between leader Lewis Hamilton and eventual winner and 2021 champion Max Verstappen following a safety car period that ended under controversial circumstances.

Red Bull Racing’s Verstappen pitted for fresh set of tires during the caution and returned to the track in second place, but with five lapped cars between his and Hamilton’s, which remained on a worn set.

The race director then allowed the lap cars to pass Hamilton, which put Verstappen right alongside Hamilton for the restart, and brought in the safety car on same lap, which left one green flag lap to the end.

Verstappen was able to pass Hamilton thanks to his car's fresher, softer compound tires.

Verstappen was able to pass Hamilton thanks to his car’s fresher, softer compound tires.
(Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Hamilton had led the entire race, but was unable to hold of Verstappen, who won by over two seconds thanks to the superior traction provided by the tires and took the season title as they entered the race tied on points.

As they approached the checkered flag, Hamilton could be heard over the radio telling his team, “this has been manipulated, man,” The Guardian reported.

Mercedes filed two protests regarding the decision immediately after the race, claiming the regulations for ending a safety period weren’t properly followed, but they were denied.

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According to The Times of London, Mercedes has until Thursday to file a new protest before the champion is officially declared.

Verstappen will be certified 2021 World Champion on Thursday unless Mercedes' effort to protest the result moves forward.

Verstappen will be certified 2021 World Champion on Thursday unless Mercedes’ effort to protest the result moves forward.
(Andrea Diodato/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

However, the newspaper reports that there is some hesitation on the part of Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who is concerned about “the further damage it could cause to Formula One,” if the team continues its challenge.

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