A protest by Mercedes against the driving standards of Max Verstappen on his penultimate lap defence on Lewis Hamilton has been withdrawn by the team.
Hamilton was closing in on the Red Bull driver on the second to last lap, and was in a position to overtake into the chicane. As has become usual, Verstappen moved late and blocked Hamilton into the chicane, forcing the British driver to go around the outside at the last minute and ending up going down the escape road. Many drivers have viewed dimly on this kind of driving, with Mercedes electing to take it to the stewards.
The statement said: “A protest has been lodged by Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team against car 33 driven by Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing relating to an alleged breach of Article 27.5 of Formula One Sporting Regulations, in that he allegedly drove erratically and in a dangerous manner, forcing car 44 to take evasive action at turn 16.”
With both drivers leaving the circuit at this point, it was announced that the matter would be resolved in Austin, two weeks from now. Shortly afterwards, Lewis Hamilton tweeted to defend his position:
There is no protest from myself. Just heard the team had but I told them it is not what we do. We are champions, we move on. End of!
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) October 9, 2016
The protest was withdrawn shortly afterwards, with Mercedes admitting they didn’t want the result to hang over to Austin.