Lewis Hamilton ‘bullying’ Max Verstappen and ‘not playing fair’, Bernie Ecclestone claims

Hamilton has won three races in a row as his title race with Verstappen goes down to the wire in Abu Dhabi this weekend

Jamie Braidwood
Wednesday 08 December 2021 13:12
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Verstappen ‘Will Do Everything’ To Beat Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is “bullying” Max Verstappen and “not playing fair” in the Formula One title race, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has claimed.

Hamilton won a chaotic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday to move level on points with Verstappen ahead of the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Verstappen was handed two time penalties following clashes between the title rivals at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, with Hamilton accusing the 24-year-old Red Bull driver of going “over the limit”.

Hamilton, 36, is a seven-time world champion and will move clear of Michael Schumacher if he secures an eighth title at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday.

But Ecclestone, 91, has claimed that the British driver is using his experience to put pressure on Verstappen while the former F1 supremo accused Mercedes and team boss Toto Wolff of influencing race stewards and FIA officials.

“Max is a kid compared to Lewis and the worst thing is Lewis has a massive publicity campaign working for him,” Ecclestone told AFP.

“They have been pushing down all the time on Max and then the race directors have been looking in because Toto goes to the race director.

“Max has more than a race to confront as he has them too on his back because they are bullying him and not playing fair.

“It is psychological game playing. Max has had a few years of racing but has not had years in the streets like Lewis.

“It has built character and knowing he would win the race with Mercedes being the dominant force over the past few years has made him a much stronger character than Max.

“For Max, this season is the first one he has had a car capable of winning regularly whereas before it was nothing like competitive.”

Ecclestone was chief executive of Formula One until 2017 when the organisation was taken over by Liberty Media.

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