Lewis Hamilton title hopes boosted as petition starts to oust Max Verstappen as champion

Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out

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Lewis Hamilton fans have taken drastic action in the wake of a contentious season finale in Abu Dhabi, with a petition underway to see the result overturned. Max Verstappen seemingly benefitted from a controversial call made by race director Michael Masi as he managed a sensational final-lap overtake to secure his first world championship crown. 

Red Bull’s Sunday-night jubilation extended deep into Monday morning as Verstappen, Christian Horner and Co celebrated a tremendous victory in the Drivers’ Championship. 

But for the majority of the contest at Yas Marina, it looked as though the crown would fall at Hamilton’s feet. 

With two laps to go, that still seemed to be the case, until a huge decision made by Masi changed the course of the race – and ultimately the title. 

Nicholas Latifi’s crash had brought out the safety car, and after the debris was cleared several lapped drivers between Hamilton and Verstappen were ordered out of the way before a one-lap shootout. 

Opportunistically, Verstappen had taken the chance to pit for new soft-compound tyres while under safety car conditions. 

And it proved to be a move that paid dividends as he lunged past Hamilton on the final lap, before doggedly defending his lead during a thrilling finish. 

With Toto Wolff bellowing down the radio at Masi for his contentious call, the Mercedes garage were stunned as Verstappen took the chequered flag. 

Hamilton fans watched on in disbelief, but with the dust now settled, a petition has been launched in an attempt to see the result overturned. 

The audacious move is yet to gain real traction, with the total still well short of the 5,000-signature target at the time of writing, although it appears to be gaining momentum. 

Even without public intervention, Mercedes tried to take matters into their own hands after the race by protesting Masi’s decision as well as Verstappen’s antics behind the safety car. 

But both were promptly slapped down, and as the clock ticks on the Silver Arrows’ window to formally appeal the decisions, it looks less and less likely that the result will be changed. 

Verstappen confirmed that Wolff had personally messaged to congratulate him on the title, adding that it was a deserved triumph that could tell its own story regarding Mercedes’ current feelings. 

They have now been tipped to back off because of the slim likelihood of prevailing over the FIA, as well as the damage it could do to the reputation of the sport. 

“I don’t think there’s any chance this result is going to change, there isn’t any realistic chance Max Verstappen won’t be champion,” claimed Edd Straw on The Race podcast.

“But there are problems here, and Mercedes has got a case that race control got this spectacularly wrong.”

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