The first of two protests made by Mercedes at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been dismissed after Max Verstappen was cleared of wrongdoing during the controversial safety car period at the end of the race.
Mercedes had alleged a breach of Article 48.8 of the F1 sporting regulations suggesting Verstappen had overtaken Lewis Hamilton under safety car conditions.
A stewards' report after the hearing noted Red Bull's defence, which stated: Red Bull argued that Car 44 [Hamilton] was not “overtaken” by Car 33 [Verstappen], that both cars were “on and off the throttle” and that there were “a million precedents” under Safety Car where cars had pulled alongside then moved back behind the car that was in front."
The stewards' decision read: "Having considered the various statements made by the parties.
"The Stewards determine that although Car 33 did at one stage, for a very short period of time, move slightly in front of Car 44, at a time when both cars were accelerating and braking, it moved back behind Car 44 and it was not in front when the Safety Car period ended (i.e. at the line)."
A second decision is pending, regarding Article 49.12 of the sporting regulations, where Mercedes believe the safety car period should have been extended a further lap in line with the regulations stated.