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Mercedes drop appeal into F1 finale, congratulate Redbull’s Verstappen

Mercedes F1 team has dropped plans to appeal the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix outcome and congratulated Max Verstappen as Formula One world champion.

“We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal,” the team said on Thursday.

“We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it’s part of the game to lose a race, but it’s something dif ferent when you lose faith in racing,” Mercedes said.

“Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events… we have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit.

“In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.”

Mercedes had announced their intention to appeal after two post-race protests were dismissed. The deadline was Thursday evening.

Max Verstappen: Formula One stewards treated me differently

‘A constructive dialogue with FIA’

Red Bull’s Verstappen, 24, seized the title after overtaking seven-times world champion Hamilton on the last lap of the race amid uproar over how a late safety car period was conducted.

Mercedes was protesting the use of the safety car following a crash with five laps remaining. Hamilton had a nearly 12-second lead with Verstappen in second when the crash brought out the yellow flag.

Verstappen pitted for fresh tires while Hamilton stayed on track. The race director initially said lapped drivers could not pass the safety car, then reversed the call in a decision that returned Verstappen to second when the race resumed with a lap remaining.

Verstappen then passed Hamilton to win his first world championship; Hamilton was denied a record eighth title, one more than Michael Schumacher.

“We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness,” said Mercedes.

“We have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula One to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.

“To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season,” the team added.

“You made this Formula One 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.”

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