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Max Verstappen Aided By 'Abuse Of The Rules' In Controversial Formula One World Title Triumph

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Max Verstappen Aided By 'Abuse Of The Rules' In Controversial Formula One World Title Triumph

A clear "abuse of the rules" proved decisive In Max Verstappen's dramatic first ever Formula One world championship win, with Mercedes lodging two protests.

Red Bull's Verstappen was the victor in Abu Dhabi after overtaking his rival in a pulsating final lap finale to become the first ever Dutchman to win the title.

But the race was full of controversy. Seven-time world champion Hamilton had been in the lead throughout but then a crash involving Nicholas Latifi of Racing Williams led to a safety car being introduced with six laps to go.

To begin with, the instruction from FIA officials was that lapped cars weren't allowed to overtake and instead had to stay in the position they were in behind the safety car.

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However after complaints from Red Bull, the rule was surprisingly abolished.

Verstappen pitted onto fast tyres while Hamilton stayed out and after the two raced right next to one another behind the safety car, the former ended up dashing towards a historic win despite both nearly crashing.

Many felt the victory was unjust, though, with Sky Sports' pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz weighing in.

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Kravitz said: "The feeling at Mercedes is 'hang on, there seems to be an abuse of the rules here. The rules have not been followed - why were only five cars allowed to unlap themselves and then the race restarted?'

"That's the point isn't it. Mercedes think the process was not followed here properly, the way it always has been with lapped cars being able to unlap themselves. Only five were, not the rest of them, and then the race was restarted.

"That's what they don't think was fair."

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In response to the events that unfolded, Mercedes tweeted, "There are no words".

They have since protested "against the classification established at the end of the competition" in relation to the alleged breach of the rules.


One appeal was due to Verstappen undertaking under the safety car, while the other relates to the safety car procedure itself - and the ruling that only a certain number of lapped cars were allowed to pass.

Despite finishing second on the podium in contentious fashion, Hamilton remained humble in defeat and gave a mature interview with Sky Sports as well as embracing his opponent.

"Firstly, big congratulations to Max and to his team," Hamilton said.

"But I'm so proud of my own team and we gave it absolutely everything and we never gave up. I've felt great in the car the past couple of months, particularly at the end. We'll see what happens next year."

Hamilton is still just one win away from surpassing Michael Schumacher's championship record and will be looking to get over the line next year.

Featured Image Credit: Image: Sky Sports

Topics: Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton

Josh Lawless
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