Mercedes staff avoid losing huge bonus despite Lewis Hamilton’s loss to Max Verstappen
Verstappen wins 2021 F1 world championship
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Mercedes staff have avoided missing out on a lucrative bonus after Lewis Hamilton was controversially pipped to the Formula One world title by Max Verstappen on Sunday.
Verstappen made history by clinching his maiden F1 title in an enthralling finale in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
But his triumph was tainted with controversy after a late U-turn from FIA director Michael Masi over cars lapping a safety car appeared to rob Hamilton of a record-breaking eighth world championship.
And it’s now emerged in a new report from The Sun that Mercedes staff had looked set to miss out on a big bonus after the dramatic events in the desert.
JUST IN: Mercedes lodge two protests in bid to steal world championship away from Max Verstappen
However, the report claims that workers are still set to receive a bonus of at least £10,000 each despite Hamilton’s controversial defeat.
It goes on to outline that, as well as missing out on creating history, Hamilton has missed out on a whopping £4million bonus after coming up short in his duel with Verstappen.
After being left incensed by Masi’s decision, Mercedes wasted little time after the race in lodging two official protests against the decision.
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These were rebuked by the FIA on Sunday night – leaving Verstappen free to celebrate his monumental title win.
But the drama looks set to rumble on after Mercedes lodged their intention to appeal the ruling.
That stance led to Red Bull chief Christian Horner jetting back to the UK on Monday morning ahead of schedule to prepare a ‘robust defence’ against any challenge Mercedes may launch in the coming days.
“It obviously felt a little bit desperate but we didn’t want it to finish in front of the stewards,” Horner said defiantly on Sunday.
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“We never wanted to end up in front of the stewards, there was obviously a lot of debate before the race.
“As it turns out it was obviously very different after the race, we don’t go racing with barristers and so on – it was a shame it ended up there but the stewards made the right call.
“We have talked about ‘let them race’, Niki Lauda was the guy who pushed hard for it and we’ve always talked about not finishing racing under safety cars – the race director in difficult circumstances made absolutely the right call and strategically we got it right.
“If they appeal, they appeal. We’ll fight them in the appeal court and then in the legal court after that if they were to go that route.”
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