‘Unacceptable’: Mercedes file protest amid outrage over Verstappen F1 title win

It was one of the most dramatic finishes to a Formula 1 season ever but Max Verstappen’s astonishing last-lap victory against reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi has left a bad taste in the mouths of some fans.

One of the most fractious seasons in recent F1 history got the type of box office climax it deserved when Verstappen took full advantage of the late introduction of the safety car to zoom past multiple-time world champion Hamilton on a dramatic final lap, clinching a maiden world title and breaking the hearts of Mercedes and British racing fans in the process.

READ MORE: Max Verstappen beats Lewis Hamilton to F1 title on last lap

The conclusion promises to be poured over by fans and officials alike, particularly after Mercedes lodged an official protest with the FIA over the decisions surrounding the safety car which ultimately cost Hamilton the title. 

But it isn’t just the higher-ups in the Mercedes camp that are angered by the race’s conclusion, as more than a few angry F1 fans have taken to social media to vent their frustrations at what many are seeing as a ‘robbery’ against Hamilton authored by Formula 1 themselves.

The online allegations include suggestions that the F1 hierarchy engineered the chaotic last lap sequence in a bid to provide a glitzy, Hollywood-style finish to the most contentious campaign in years – and that Hamilton was the unfortunate victim of a conspiracy.

Others, though, just maintain that racing fans witnessed a good, old-fashioned ‘robbery’.

Either way, Twitter seems to be in agreement that all wasn’t quite right in the final stages of the thrilling race in Abu Dhabi.

THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!!” Formula 1 driver George Russell wrote on Twitter soon after the conclusion of the race.

Max is an absolutely fantastic driver who has had an incredible season and I have nothing but huge respect for him, but what just happened is absolutely unacceptable. I cannot believe what we’ve just seen.”

I don’t know what I’ve just watched but it can’t be right. Hamilton’s been robbed, surely?” added controversial British talking head Piers Morgan.

That was incredible,” added another. “Doesn’t seem fair. Lewis Hamilton will feel robbed, so far ahead, then penalised due to the safety car and seemingly arbitrary decisions (feels a bit like politics right now) Unbelievable.”

A hint of the constructed reality with Michael Masi’s rule bend to ensure a Hollywood finish to the season. Netflix will be pleased,” came the thoughts of another fan, referring to the popular F1 series ‘Drive to Survive’ on the subscription platform. 

But either way Verstappen a true champion and Red Bull smart in how they threw the kitchen sink at it, and got the reward from the gods.”

The FIA’s decision was abnormal and I’d be fuming if I was Hamilton but I absolutely cannot be arsed with the conspiracy theories that the sport wanted Max to win. [FIA race director Michael] Masi and co would’ve done the same thing if the positions were reversed, they just wanted an exciting finish,” said another.

Some, though, weren’t quite so upset at the conclusion.

Does this mean I won’t have to listen to Lewis Hamilton getting of a private jet and telling me about climate change this winter? I think we are all winners in that case. The horror on Sky is so good,” wrote sports writer Ewan MacKenna, obviously reveling in the result.

My personal favorite was Hamilton’s comments about racing in Saudi Arabia, if you honestly believe that much in what you’re saying then why didn’t he boycott it, it far more powerful than words,” agreed another. 

Another summed it up much more plainly: “The Hamilton fan meltdown is fantastic.”

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