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Wolff: Verstappen protest down to miscommunication

NEWS STORY
21/10/2016

Communications let Mercedes down in Japan according to Toto Wolff.

Having secured its third successive constructors' title, Mercedes somewhat tainted the celebrations at Suzuka when it lodged a protest against Max Verstappen's robust defence of his second position in the final laps of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Having confirmed the protest, the Suzuka stewards subsequently revealed that as both Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had already left the circuit the protest would be deferred to this weekend in Austin. However, shortly afterwards it was revealed that Mercedes had withdrawn the protest.

In the meantime, Hamilton, who had endured a difficult weekend, took to social media to deride someone who had commented on the protest, the Briton claiming there was no protest.

Curiously, Hamilton's tweet, in which he called the person who had mentioned the protest an "idiot", was deleted, just as the protest too became history.

"It was a miscommunication," insisted Toto Wolff when asked about the protest that never was. "When we left the circuit, I said that the Verstappen manoeuvre was a hard manoeuvre but probably what we want to see in Formula One. He's refreshing and I think that the drivers need to sort that out among themselves on track.

"We decided not to step in and then it was... how can I say, an unfortunate coincidence that we took off, we left. The team had a minute to decide whether to protest or not and that's what they did and once we were able to communicate again, which was 30 minutes after take-off, we decided to withdraw the protest."

Check out our Friday gallery from Austin, here.

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