F1: Bernie Ecclestone claims Mercedes is ‘bullying’ Red Bull star and title rival Max Verstappen
‘They BULLY Max’: Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone lashes out at Mercedes for ‘not playing fair’ in Lewis Hamilton’s battle with Verstappen, claiming they are putting the Dutchman on a ‘psychological game’
- Bernie Ecclestone has accused Mercedes of ‘bullying’ title rival Max Verstappen
- Former F1 supremo thinks Mercedes is ‘not playing fair’ with the Dutchman
- He also claims that Verstappen has to swallow ‘psychological gaming’
- Verstappen and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton are engaged in a close title battle
- Drivers’ championship to be decided in final race of the season in Abu Dhabi
Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has accused Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton of ‘bullying’ title rival Max Verstappen in the race for the drivers’ championship.
Hamilton won a frenetic and action-packed Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday to level with the Red Bull driver and take their thrilling battle for the title into the final race.
The race in Jeddah was not without incident, with Hamilton crashing into the back of Verstappen’s car when the Dutchman was ordered to slow down and let the Briton pass him halfway through the race.
Bernie Ecclestone (left) has accused Mercedes of ‘bullying’ title rival Max Verstappen (right)
Ecclestone claims Toto Wolff (left) and Hamilton (right) ‘push down’ Verstappen
However, confusion saw Hamilton hit the back of Verstappen’s car, leading the seven-time world champion to label him ‘f***ing crazy’ before the Red Bull man was hit with two separate time penalties and points on his race licence.
Ecclestone, 91, claims Hamilton used his wealth of experience to ‘suppress’ Verstappen before accusing Mercedes chief Toto Wolff of influencing race directors.
“Max is a kid compared to Lewis and the worst part is that Lewis has a huge publicity campaign for him,” Ecclestone said. AFP.
“They’ve been pushing Max all the time and then the race directors have looked in because Toto goes to the race director.
Ecclestone’s comments come after Hamilton (right) collided with Verstappen (left) on Sunday
Max has more than one race to confront because he also has them on his back because they bully him and don’t play fair. It’s psychological gaming.
“Max has been racing for a few years, but not years on the streets like Lewis.”
Ecclestone also told exclusively sports post that he believes race fans would love to see a new world champion, given how Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated in recent years.
“It’s hard to say which one will prevail,” Ecclestone told Sportsmail when asked who will prevail in the title race. “I think it now depends on a bit of luck or bad luck that one of them runs into.
“Generally speaking, the public – and this is nothing against Lewis, he has done a first-class job – probably want to see someone else become world champions. That’s the feeling I get from people.
“Lewis has been a bit more lucky so far. Whether that happiness will last or run out, we’ll have to see.
Ecclestone says Mercedes chief Wolff (who reacted angrily on Sunday) ‘will go to the race director’, forcing Verstappen to endure ‘psychological gaming’ as well
“Max as champion would be good for Formula 1. Mercedes has been great, but it would be good if someone else came to the fore.
“Max presents himself very, very well to the public. New kid on the block kind of thing, although he has been performing well for a few years but was largely unknown.
“People wonder if they’re going to crash, but if they do, it’s not intentional. It could happen, but I don’t think any of them will do anything stupid or drive in a way that could cause an accident.
“If it does happen, it probably won’t have anything to do with it. That’s what I say about luck and it can be the difference between becoming a champion or not.
“It’s been a good championship, which we’ve waited seven years for. That’s why I hope it comes to an end and whoever is more lucky will become world champion in 2021.”
Ecclestone also revealed he hasn’t spoken to Hamilton in months but insists he respects what the Briton is doing.
Hamilton (right) came out on top in an action-packed Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday
“I haven’t spoken to Lewis in months,” he says. “There’s really nothing we have too much in common that we want to discuss.
“I respect him and all the things he tries to do, but he has to respect and believe that other people – and I’m not just talking about myself – have opinions. He can’t rely on his opinion being the only opinion people should look up to.”
The title will be decided this weekend by a mouth-watering one-race shootout at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
sports post revealed earlier today that Channel 4 is in talks with Sky Sports about live coverage of Hamilton’s world title clash with Max Verstappen on Sunday.