MERCEDES are protesting the outcome of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton was pipped to the championship on the final lap of the season.
The British superstar was overtaken by title rival Max Verstappen after a controversial safety car decision at Yas Marina Circuit.
Hamilton was leading before the safety car came in on lap 54 when Nicholas Latifi crashed into the barriers.
Dutch flier Verstappen chased down Hamilton on the final lap having earlier pitted for fresher tyres than the Merc man.
The safety car entered the pit lane with one lap remaining – and that freed up Verstappen for one final crack at the leader Hamilton.
There was controversy surrounding the timing of the safety car’s withdrawal after several of the lapped cars were allowed past.
Stewards had initially indicated lapped cars in between Hamilton and Verstappen would stay in their current formation.
That would have left Vertsappen with five cars to get past before reaching Hamilton.
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But stewards controversially reversed the call and allowed lapped cars through – giving the Red Bull man a clear shot at the leader.
Verstappen then capitalised on his fresher tyres to snatch the lead and leave Hamilton struggling on his older set of rubber.
Merc boss Toto Wolff could be seen ranting in the paddock and blasted race director Michael Masi over the radio.
His team are now officially protesting overtaking under the safety car and safety car procedural rules.
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