The claim of using the race directors authority to supercede all other related rules sounds reasonable in principle, but in practice it is utterly untenable. The Director can't make things up as he sees fit or the entire system falls apart.Oh I 100% agree with you, that decision was made for TV. Lets not forget F1 is currently in the middle of a bit of an image crisis and the sport is desperately trying to get new viewers. The decision was definitely made with this in mind.
However the decision was not against the rules...
The decision that 48.13 supercedes 48.12 is also bonkers. Masi sent the message that the safety car was coming in and so it has to come in, but the fact that the message shouldn't have been sent in the first place can't be overlooked so easily. The intent of the rules is always relevant when it comes to legal interpretation. And the intention of 48.13 was never to allow 48.12 be usurped. That fact matters.
It all reads to me as a defense by the stewards of their race director, not as a correct interpretation of the rules. Which is why mercedes have a very decent case in front of them now. The stewards ill-advised admission that 48.12 wasn't implemented fully won't help their cause in the end I think.
Having said all that - I think the ship should be allowed sail for the sake of the sport. Let Verstappen have his Championship - which he has been leading for many races now including into the last race effectively given his race wins. So there can be no sour grapes from that point of view.
What I would love to see would be Mercedes releasing a statement that Lewis has asked them to drop the legal challenge. But I think that might be wishful thinking on my part!!!