Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Mercedes had no grounds for complaint following Max Verstappen's controversial win in Abu Dhabi over Lewis Hamilton that secured him the World Championship.
Mercedes protested the result citing a breach of two articles in the sporting regulations as Verstappen passed Hamilton in the last lap of the race following the introduction of a safety car after Nicholas Latifi crashed.
Hamilton had looked sure to win the race before the events unfolded, but the lapped cars between the two title rivals were allowed to pass the safety car giving Verstappen an uninterrupted path to overtake the Brit and win.
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Mercedes' appeals were rejected within hours of the race ending, and Red Bull's Horner admits he was never concerned that they would be upheld.
"We didn't really feel that there were the grounds for a threat," said Horner. "We obviously were in front of the stewards for quite a while and obviously there's a great deal of discussion over what happened.
"But you know, safety cars are usually in Formula 1 and we've seen it in throughout this season, and obviously the determination of the race director is always to get the race going again. And that's been a clear mandate for many, many years now. So a lot was made of it. But that's the way it is.
I mean, we've had so many decisions go against us.
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And reflecting on an incredibly exciting season, Horner believes luck balanced out over the course of the year, admitting that it took intervention from the F1 gods to help them to the title in Abu Dhabi.
"Many things have gone against us this year," he added. "But things have a habit of working themselves out and balancing themselves over the course of the year, and I think I said on commentary on the pit-wall that the championship looked like it was it was gone.
Lewis and Mercedes had the quicker package in Abu Dhabi, and it was going to take something from the racing gods. And I'm quite pleased I've got a direct line now.
And ultimately, Horner believes that Verstappen was a deserving world champion, praising the team and the driver for fighting until the end and taking advantage of the luck when it came their way.
"People in this business have very short memories," he said. "I think that Max (Verstappen) is absolutely the deserving world champion when you look at the championship as a whole. And I think that the events on Sunday have drawn an awful lot of comment. But that happens in sport.
"I think they know we've had a lot of bad luck this year. We got fortunate with a safety car, we made the right strategic calls, we won the race. And great strategy, great teamwork, great execution by Max.
Time will move on. Max is a very, very deserving world champion and we're incredibly proud of that. And the history books will always show that he is the 2021 world champion.
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