Max Verstappen has reportedly been messaged by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, amid reports that the Silver Arrows are prepared to give up on their pursuit of an appeal regarding Sunday’s world title showdown in Abu Dhabi. The Dutchman passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to clinch his first crown in dramatic, yet controversial circumstances.
Amid growing intensity in the championship race, relations between Red Bull, Mercedes and the FIA reached boiling point on Sunday over a dramatic final lap.
With lapped cars cleared out of the way once the safety car left the track, Verstappen and Hamilton were free to battle it out, although the Dutchman had just put on fresh soft-compound tyres.
With only one lap remaining, the Red Bull man took his chance and passed Hamilton to claim his first world title.
Mercedes immediately protested two incidents that occurred towards the closing stages of the race, although both were promptly slapped down.
Wolff and co. later announced their intention to appeal those decisions, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner making his way back to the UK to prepare for a legal fight.
However, The Times claim that the Silver Arrows are now preparing to abort that plan for the good of the sport.
In a new development, Sky Sports News presenter Craig Slater claims: “Max Verstappen told me that Toto Wolff, the Mercedes boss, had sent him a text message, congratulating him on being World Champion and saying that he fully deserved it, so make of that what you will.
“I haven’t heard anything from Mercedes about them deciding not to proceed with that protest.”
Mercedes were given 96 hours to launch their official appeal, although the deadline may have fallen sooner with the official ceremony to take place on Thursday.
Red Bull and their title rivals have been locked in a fierce war of words virtually all season, with numerous incidents between Hamilton and Verstappen causing friction in recent months.
And that looked to have reached a crescendo during the final lap of the season’s final race, with Wolff pleading with race director Michael Masi to reconsider his decision to let the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen through.
However, Masi bluntly defended the FIA’s decision to allow the two to face off, saying: “Toto, it’s called a motor race. We went car racing.”
Post-race celebrations were jubilant for the Red Bull team, despite narrowly missing out on the Constructors’ title to Mercedes.
And although controversy heightened the emotions of a high-stakes contest, Hamilton remained gracious in defeat, shaking the hand of his victorious rival on camera.
The pair had exchanged stern words, albeit primarily over their own team radios, all season, but the element of respect always remained.
With Wolff’s allegedly friendly text message in mind, it could soon be time for Verstappen and Red Bull to kick their feet up and enjoy the 24-year-old’s maiden championship triumph