Mercedes withdraw protest over Verstappen's Hamilton defence


Mercedes have withdrawn a protest against Max Verstappen's defence of second place in the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton claiming to have pulled the plug.

Red Bull driver Verstappen came under increasing pressure from Hamilton as the race - won by Nico Rosberg - neared a conclusion, with the British driver attempting an overtake on the penultimate lap.

Hamilton complained over the radio that Verstappen "moved under braking" and Mercedes backed their driver's claim by submitting a complaint.

Constructors' champions Mercedes alleged the Dutchman drove "erratically", according to article 27.5 of the sporting regulations.

The regulation states: "At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person."

However, the protest was swiftly withdrawn after it was decided the case would be deferred to the United States Grand Prix in a fortnight.

But Hamilton claims it is he who dismissed the appeal, tweeting: "There is no protest from myself. Just heard the team had but I told them it is not what we do.

"We are champions, we move on. End of!"

Hamilton's third-placed finish saw Rosberg move 33 points clear in the drivers' standings.