After the Williams of Nicholas Latifi crashed out in the final laps, a safety car and late decision by the stewards brought Verstappen right into the rearview mirror of Lewis Hamilton.
On a fresh set of soft tyres, Hamilton didn’t have a chance against the charging bull, and after a swift overtake Verstappen sailed to the finish line to clinch the ultimate win after an incredible season.
This afternoon, it was confirmed that a “protest by Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team” has been brought “against Car 33, for an alleged breach of Article 48.8 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”
The second protest by the team was “against the classification established at the end of the Competition” for an “alleged breach of Article 48.12 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”
According to Article 48.8: “With the exception of the cases listed under a) to h) below, 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.”
Furthermore, the rules state that: “If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all teams Competitors via the official messaging system, any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car.
“This will only apply to cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the Line at the end of the lap during which they crossed the first Safety Car line for the second time after the safety car was deployed.
“Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car these cars should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and make every effort to take up position at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car.
“Whilst they are overtaking, and in order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable.
“Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.”