Unrepentant Verstappen continues to criticise rules and officials  

Abu Dhabi (AFP) – Max Verstappen continued his criticism of Formula One rules and officials on Thursday ahead of the title showdown in Abu Dhabi, saying he has been singled out for sanctions.


The 24-year-old Dutchman, who was penalised twice in last Sunday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, said he is punished for his driving style and that others, who drive in the same aggressive and unforgiving way, are not.

He also claimed hat FIA Race Director Michael Masi's official pre-race warning about driving standards and possible sanctions was intended to apply for him alone in a race which Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton start level on points atop the driver standings.

"Well, clearly, these don't apply for everyone," he said. "That's because the things I did in terms of defending, two other guys, in terms of racing, also did, and they didn't even get a mention, or penalty.

"I don't understand because I thought I was just racing hard. What happened, for me, didn't deserve any penalty. Really, the other two people who did it, they didn't get one.

"It's only me who gets it and, of course, fighting up the front, people were more critical, I guess. For me, I don't understand..."

His abrasive stance and mood ahead of Sunday's title decider at the Yas Marina Circuit demonstrated that he had not reconciled himself to last weekend's events or the widespread paddock perception that he had gone 'over the top'.

Verstappen was handed a five-second penalty for running wide at Turn One and 10 seconds for an incident that was perceived as him 'brake-testing' Hamilton when trying to slow to allow him to pass, as demanded by the race officials.

He was most aggrieved that he was punished for running wide at Turn One, during one of his skirmishes with Hamilton in a race of intense wheel to wheel racing.

"For me, I was not wrong...And clearly, only I was wrong, somehow!" he said. "Other people did exactly the same thing and they get nothing because both of us are off the track.

"We're outside of the white line into Turn One and somehow they judged that it was my fault, which I don't agree with. The other penalty as well, I don't agree with – and then afterwards, he pushes me off the track."

The Dutchman referred to the move late in the race when he was passed by Hamilton who pressed the Red Bull off at the final corner. This incident resulted in Masi issuing a warning to Mercedes about Hamilton's driving.

Verstappen was incensed and revealed that he saw Hamilton look at him as he forced him out.

"He even looked at me and he just doesn't turn in -- he pushed me outside of the white line at the track edge and he only gets a warning UAE for that," he said.

"So, it's definitely not how it should be and it's also not fair because it seems like other drivers can do different things and it seems like only I get a penalty.

"At the end of the day, criticism is always there, but I think, for myself, what isn't fair is that I'm just treated differently than other drivers.

"Other drivers can clearly get away with it, but I can't. That's a bit of a problem."