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Lewis Hamilton Given Fresh Hope as a Second Lawyer Weighs in on Max Verstappen Controversy.

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Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of overturning Max Verstappen’s maiden F1 world title have been given a fresh boost after another lawyer claimed that Mercedes could have legal grounds to change the outcome of Sunday’s race in Abu Dhabi. FIA race director Michael Masi caused outrage from the Mercedes camp due to a contentious decision in the race’s dying embers.

 

 

Hamilton looked to be cruising towards his eighth Drivers’ title on Sunday, with Red Bull and Verstappen unable to respond to Mercedes’ pace. The Dutchman was then handed a major stroke of luck, however, when Nicholas Latifi’s crash brought out the safety car in the closing stages.

 

 

 

 

The safety car retreated with one lap remaining, and Verstappen was suddenly dealt another miracle when the hoard of lapped cars between them were ordered out of the way to enable a straight shootout. Toto Wolff was infuriated as Hamilton’s lead was suddenly wiped out, and Max, on brand new soft-compound tyres, passed Hamilton to clinch the title.

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Amid Mercedes’ pledge to lodge an official appeal and take matters further, law partner Duncan Bagshaw claimed that Wolff and Co have a case. And the Hamilton camp have been given another boost, with sports law specialist Nicholas Bamber backing Bagshaw’s belief in an interview with racefans.com.

 

 

“In response to Mercedes’ protest, they [the FIA] concluded that article 15.3 gives the race director carte blanche to control the use of the safety car and overrides the procedure for the safety car stipulated at Article 48.12,” he said

“This interpretation seems – on its face – to be inconsistent with a plain language view of the regulations.

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“It also directly contradicts Michael Masi’s approach in similar circumstances at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix where he stated ‘There is a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars past’ before the safety car returns to the pit lane and the race recommences, ‘therefore the safety car period was a bit longer than what we would have normally wanted’.

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“I.e. the race director cannot overrule the appropriate application of the regulations, including the full application of article 48.12.

“Article 1.1.1 of the 2021 FIA International Sporting Code makes clear that the regulations are to be enforced ‘based on the fundamental principles of safety and sporting fairness’ [emphasis added]. Part of sporting fairness revolves around consistency of application of the rules of the sport. As such, there appears to be a good legal basis upon which Mercedes could seek to appeal.”

Bamber added that the FIA could struggle to defend themselves if the matter was taken to an International Court of Appeal hearing.







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