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Formula 1

Red Bull calls Mercedes protests ‘a bit desperate’

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Red Bull feels Mercedes’ legal action in the wake of Formula 1’s controversial title decider was “a bit desperate” and has criticised the presence of legal counsel at the final race.

Mercedes submitted two protests following a contentious finale in which Max Verstappen won, and secured the world championship, despite Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton leading until the final lap.

One protest was against Verstappen briefly overtaking Hamilton while behind the safety car preparing for the restart but the main contention was the safety car protocol not being followed exactly to the regulations, which caused a one-lap shootout that Verstappen started immediately behind Hamilton with fresh soft tyres while Hamilton was on old hards.

Both of those protests have been dismissed by the stewards and Mercedes has submitted its intention to appeal the decision regarding safety car protocol.

Horner said: “It obviously felt a little bit desperate. But we didn’t want it to finish in front of the stewards.

“They’ve been great competitors this year. And Lewis has been a phenomenal driver.

“It’s had its moments. It’s been tense. It’s been tough. But we’re just delighted with the outcome.

“And very proud of Max tonight, who’s been phenomenal.”

Speaking moments before news of Mercedes’ intention to appeal, he added: “I wouldn’t be surprised. I was surprised we ended up in the stewards over the incidents.

“I wouldn’t be as surprised if they were to appeal. But I think the race director made his position clear, the stewards made their position clear, and the ruling is very clear.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Race Day Abu Dhabi, Uae

Mercedes’ representation in the stewards’ hearings was team manager Ron Meadows, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin and team legal counsel Paul Harris.

Red Bull was represented by team boss Horner, technical chief Adrian Newey and team manager Jonathan Wheatley.

Asked about Mercedes’ legal support, Horner said: “It’s a shame, we’re a race team. We’re a team of racers, we don’t take barristers racing with us and we focus on what’s going on on the track.

“We push and we race hard and the the team this year have been phenomenal.

“We’ve had the fastest pitstops, we’ve had great strategy, bold strategies.

“And of course we’ve had Max Verstappen. And Max has been phenomenal.”

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