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Max Verstappen Could Lose First Formula One Title After Mercedes Lodge Two Protests

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Max Verstappen Could Lose First Formula One Title After Mercedes Lodge Two Protests

Max Verstappen could be stripped of his first Formula One title if he is found guilty of passing Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the final lap in today's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

With the two rivals neck and neck going into the final race of the season, Verstappen won the grand finale in dramatic but controversial fashion.

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Hamilton was leading the way throughout and was 11 seconds ahead of Verstappen with just six laps remaining.

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But then a crash involving Racing Williams' Nicholas Latifi led to a safety car being introduced.

At first, the instruction from FIA officials was that lapped cars weren't allowed to overtake and were required to stay in the position they were in behind the safety car.

Yet the rule was abolished and, Verstappen, having pitted for new tyres, completed an incredible overtake that secured him a memorable win at the death.

Mercedes have since launched two protests as they feel the result and the manner of it was unjust.

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The appeal relating to Verstappen overtaking behind the safety car was dismissed by FIA stewards, however a decision has yet to be made in regards to the restart situation.

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Ted Kravitz, who is Sky Sports' pit-lane reporter, made the suggestion that a five-second penalty could be imposed on Verstappen if a guilty verdict is reached.

In the event of that happening, Hamilton would be handed a record eighth F1 world title as he was less than five seconds behind the winner.

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The other scenario that could see him surpass Michael Schumacher's tally following a review is if Mercedes are able to get the final lap cancelled altogether.

Hamilton was in the lead prior to the shenanigans. Despite the contentious way in which the race went, he maintained his class afterwards and embraced Verstappen.

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"Firstly, big congratulations to Max and to his team," Hamilton told Sky Sports.

"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."

Featured Image Credit: Image: PA

Topics: Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen

Josh Lawless
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