Mercedes reportedly have a major obstacle in their way as they continue to appeal Lewis Hamilton’s defeat at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday. Hamilton was controversially denied an eighth world championship following an epic final-lap showdown with Max Verstappen.
Verstappen won his first ever Formula One drivers’ title after coming out on top in a sensational battle with rival Hamilton.
Both drivers had incredibly gone into the race level on 369.5 points following the Brit’s win at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix a week earlier.
Hamilton was going for a record-breaking title. He is level on seven with legendary driver Michael Schumacher.
But the 36-year-old was left disappointed in his bid for another championship despite having led for most of the race.
Nicholas Lafiti’s crash prompted a safety car to be deployed with five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen.
The FIA initially ruled that those drivers would not be able to unlap themselves but then changed their decision, effectively leaving Verstappen a whole lap in which to overtake Hamilton.
On fresher, softer tyres, the Dutchman was able to do so and won his first ever world championship.
Mercedes had two appeals thrown out by the FIA for the fact that only the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen unlapped themselves but plan to go back in with another.
However, their protests will not be heard in front of a Court of Arbitration for Sport panel.
That leaves only an FIA panel at the International Court of Appeal in Paris to judge whether Mercedes have a case.
That poses serious doubts over whether Mercedes will sensationally have the result of the race overturned.
The report continues that F1 sources are ‘sceptical’ that the FIA will find themselves in breach of their own laws.
It would be a huge embarrassment for the sport and would render Verstappen’s trophy presentation void.
As a result, they suspect the result will stand and that Mercedes’ appeal will be thrown out, just as their protests immediately after the race were dismissed by the stewards.
Former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg criticised the FIA’s decision to only allow the five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves.
Rosberg was particularly scathing about race director Michael Masi.
“First they said they’re not allowed to un-lap themselves, then they changed their message once they saw that the track was safe to do so,” the German told Sky Sports.
“But the thing is, in the written document all cars will be required to un-lap themselves and yet they only let those five cars that were between Lewis and Verstappen un-lap themselves, the others not.
“That’s why Mercedes are thinking, ‘is that OK?’
“I guess it’s just going to be, in the end, Michael Masi can decide what he wants, he’s the director. He wants to go racing, they go racing, in a safe way, and they did that.”