F1: Red Bull's Verstappen gets in shape for new season
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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are both tied on the same points heading into the Formula One season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. And in a revealing press conference where the two title protagonists sat alongside each other, Verstappen has slammed Hamilton and Mercedes for their antics throughout this season.
Verstappen looked like he had one hand on the F1 Drivers’ Championship title after the Mexican Grand Prix in November, which put him 19 points ahead of Hamilton with just four races left.
Yet with Hamilton winning the three races since, the duo go head to head in Abu Dhabi on 369.5 points each – the first time a pair have headed into the final day on the same points since 1974.
Their rivalry was brought to new heights on Sunday after an exhilarating race in Saudi Arabia resulted in a collision on lap 37.
And after a series of penalties, fines and scrutiny under Verstappen, the 24-year-old says his perception of Hamilton and his team has changed massively for the worse.
“Yep, very much. And not in a positive way,” Verstappen said.
The Dutchman has made it clear he believes he is a victim of unfair treatment by the FIA.
Bernie Ecclestone, former F1 boss and mogul, agreed with him by accusing Hamilton of bullying the Red Bull driver.
And Verstappen made his thoughts on the case known.
“Well, clearly he feels something is not right,” said Verstappen.
“I don’t experience bullying, but I think what is going on of course is not correct.
“At the end of the day, criticism that’s always there. But I think for myself, what is unfair is I’m just treated differently than other drivers.
“Clearly other drivers can get away with it and I can’t, and that’s a bit of a problem.”
Having won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix five times in his career, Hamilton is no stranger to victory in the United Arab Emirates.
Verstappen is looking for the first title of his young career.
Meanwhile, Hamilton is in search of a record eighth title.
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