By Can Erozden
ANKARA (AA) – Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team on Thursday withdrew their appeal against the title win of Red Bull Racing Honda's Max Verstappen and congratulated him as the Formula 1 world champion.
Mercedes said on Twitter that the team want to work with FIA – the world's auto racing governing body – to "build a better Formula 1" and abandoned their appeal against the result in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 12.
"The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the Safety Car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the World Championship," Mercedes said.
It stated that after Sir Lewis Hamilton's loss, the team lodged an appeal over the safety car procedure "in the interest of sporting fairness" and they were talking with FIA and Formula 1 to "create clarity for the future" so that all drivers and teams should know about the rules and their enforcement.
Mercedes said they welcomed the FIA decision on Wednesday to analyze what happened in the Abu Dhabi race and their invitation for the teams and drivers to join it.
"... And we hereby withdraw our appeal," it said.
- Mercedes congratulates Verstappen
The Formula 1 team congratulated Verstappen for his victory.
"To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season. You made this Formula 1 Championship title fight truly epic. Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to you on the track next season," Mercedes said in a statement.
The team previously protested the result of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit after Hamilton lost the race on the final lap when his championship rival Verstappen passed him to claim the race victory and this season's world title.
On lap 54, Nicholas Latifi from Williams Racing crashed into the barriers, causing a safety car on the last laps of the race and then Verstappen caught and passed Hamilton to be the victor.
"No driver may overtake another car on the track, including the Safety Car, until he passes the Line … for the first time after the Safety Car has returned to the pits." according to the Formula 1 sporting rules.
Mercedes' Hamilton, 36, missed a record eighth Formula 1 title after he came second to be the 2021 runner-up.