Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Red Bull will be celebrating well past midnight, while Mercedes is already poring over rule books, following the controversy at Abu Dhabi’s last lap shootout.

Mercedes, who were victorious in constructors’ title but lost out to Lewis Hamilton in drivers standings, have filed an appeal against official results. 

Toto Wolff (team principal) has not yet commented on the drama. But Mercedes seem to have a strong case against the FIA. He was delayed in his press conference after the race, so there will be a lot of backlash.

In the chaos surrounding the Yas marina Circuit, this is what you should see. Sportsmail The author has looked at the circumstances to see how they turned out and offered some insight into how these eyebrow-raising choices were made.

Max Verstappen won the World Championship trophy after beating Lewis Hamilton in drama

After beating Lewis Hamilton in drama, Max Verstappen was awarded the World Championship trophy.

Hamilton led for most of the race in Abu Dhabi, but was then tovertaken on the very last lap

Hamilton was leading for the majority of Abu Dhabi’s race, but was tovertaken in the last lap.


Hamilton, with just a few laps remaining, was already in control and appeared on track to win a record eighth title. After Nicholas Latifi drove his Williams into barriers, everything fell apart around Hamilton.

Red Bull brought Verstappen into the race for new tires. Mercedes decided against putting new tires on Hamilton’s car, an error they will regret.

In the end, Verstappen held Hamilton’s hand in the final shootout. Verstappen’s tyres enabled him to jump off to an easy start and soon after, he was able to glide past Hamilton.

Nicholas Latifi crashed his car into the barriers on lap 53, when Hamilton was in cruise control

Nicholas Latifi, Hamilton’s cruise control driver, crashed his car into the barriers lap 53.

Hamilton broke away from Verstappen at lights out, and led for almost the entirety of the race

Hamilton lead almost the entire race and broke from Verstappen after the first lights.


Michael Masi could find himself in hot water as race director. Wolff became angry and called Masi asking him to reconsider. He was then met with a smug reply about motor racing, which did not clarify the situation.

Mercedes were and are still angry after the decision makers dramatically altered their minds in just minutes. 

Masi stated that the lapped cars of Hamilton and Verstappen wouldn’t be permitted to un-lap, contrary to Formula One practice. 

It is the act of speeding up to pass a vehicle that is just passing you, and is one lap ahead. Drivers who are able to pass others will un-lap themselves. This is what Abu Dhabi is known for.

Red Bull was unhappy with Masi’s decision, but in an astonishing twist of events, the race director changed his mind. 

Race Control instructed the lapped cars to rejoin the front of the queue at the end of each lap.

Hamilton and Verstappen were thus placed side-by for the restart. It was Hamilton with his fresher tires that triumphed over all. 

Michael Masi changed his mind over allowing lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to overtake the safety car ahead of the restart

Michael Masi was rebuffed by the idea of allowing lapped vehicles between Hamilton & Verstappen overtake the safety vehicle in advance of the restart

Verstappen's fresher tyres allowed him to dive down beyond Hamilton and then win the title

Verstappen was able to win the title because of Verstappen’s newer tires. He was able to jump down past Hamilton.


Masi’s actions appear to be against sporting rules. A seismic debate has erupted when Masi ordered the five cars located between Hamilton & Verstappen take over the safety car. It will never end.

In the rulebook, Article 48.8 says ‘no driver may overtake another car on the track, including the safety car, until he passes the Line (see Article 5.3) for the first time after the safety car has returned to the pits.’

Additionally, Article 48.12 provides that any cars being lapped by the leader are required to pass those on the lead lap as well as the safety car.

Concerning the first, Verstappen pulled up beside Hamilton as he approached Turn 12 on lap 56, before the race resumed on lap 58, the last lap.

Race Control also told Lando norris, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon that they were not satisfied with the argument.

But, Lance Stroll, Mick Schumacher, and Daniel Ricciardo were not provided with the exact same instructions. 

Article 48.12 says that safety cars will be returned to the pits after the lap is complete unless the Clerk of the Course considers them still required.

Verstappen came into the race on pole, but his sluggish start allowed Hamilton to take the lead

Hamilton won the race after Verstappen was on pole.

Post-race, a gracious Hamilton congratulated Verstappen, but Mercedes lodged two appeals

A gracious Hamilton felicitated Verstappen after the race. Mercedes, however, lodged two appeals


The investigation into the matter is ongoing, although it’s not yet clear what could be done. 

If any penalties are imposed, it will change the overall complexion of title fights and possibly strip Verstappen off the trophy.

Hamilton might win the eighth award, if any changes are made to the race results.

The sport will find it embarrassing if the results are reversed.

However, it could be worse for them to let the result stand. Rules were apparently conjured on the last lap to create a soap-opera. 

Red Bull will be speaking to the stewards tonight, but there’s still plenty of controversy. 

Hamilton was marginally ahead when Verstappen moved into the pitlane. Verstappen may then be penalized with a five-second penalty.

He would have to forfeit the win and the Championship.

While the chaos will likely be cleared this evening there are also the possibilities that the drama could be escalated to the courtroom if required. 

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has not yet commented on the drama, but is believed to be angry

Toto Wolff (Mercedes chief) hasn’t yet spoken out on the drama. However, it is thought to be furious.

Verstappen may have also moved ahead of Hamilton behind the safety car in another twist

Hamilton may also have been pushed aside by Verstappen behind the safety car, but this is another twist.

What has been the reaction? 

‘No, Mikey! This was wrong!

After the safety car was removed, Wolff at Masi uttered these words to the radio. Hamilton was left hopelessly out front. 

Wolff has yet not spoken out, however he is likely to cool down and examine Mercedes’ legal options. According to reports, they even called in a lawyer.

Horner, speaking after the race, admitted Verstappen was able to benefit from good fortune, but insisted Masi had made the right decision. 

‘Ofcourse he (Toto), would do that (disagree). But it’s unheard of to leave the cars unlapped,’ Horner told Sky Sports.

‘You could see they wanted to get the race going again but they don’t need to catch up the back of the paddock so they made absolutely the right call. 

‘(They were) Difficult circumstances for the stewards, we’re all putting pressure on them, but they called it right.’

In his press conference Verstappen was also asked about the drama and he responded: “Everything is clear, so why would you race another lap behind that safety car?”

When asked about Mercedes’ protest, he replied: “Not much to say about it.” This also seems to sum up the season.

Williams’ George Russell will be Hamilton’s team-mate in next season’s championship. He tweeted, ‘THIS ISN’T ACCEPTABLE!! 

Max is an exceptional driver and has enjoyed an extraordinary season. Although I have great respect to him, what’s just happened is unacceptable. It’s shocking to see what has just happened. 

For now, Red Bull (pictured: team principal Christian Horner, left) will continue to celebrate

Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner (pictured left) will celebrate the moment.

It is not clear if the race result will change, with Mercedes having spoken to the stewards

Mercedes has spoken with the stewards, but it is unclear if there will be a change in the race results.