Max Verstappen believes he is unfairly treated compared to other drivers on the grid when it comes to the way he races, ahead of the championship decider at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton won the last race in Jeddah after Verstappen was told to give a position back to the defending champion for leaving the track and gaining an advantage after forcing both cars wide at Turn 1. After the race, Hamilton said he knows he can’t stay ahead of another driver if he goes off track to retain a position but that rule “doesn’t apply to one of us,” whereas Verstappen now says other drivers get away with more than he does.
“At the end of the day, criticism, that’s always there, but I think from my side what is unfair is I’m treated differently than other drivers,” Verstappen said. “Clearly other drivers can get away with it and I can’t…
“Clearly things don’t apply for everyone because the things I did in terms of defending, two other guys also did and they didn’t get a mention or penalty. I don’t understand as I thought I was just racing hard.
“What happened for me didn’t deserve any penalty — the other two people who did it, they didn’t get one but it’s only me that gets it. Of course fighting at the front people are a bit more critical but for me I don’t understand.
“The only thing I ask is that it’s fair for everyone but clearly that’s not the case for the moment — like I said I don’t feel like I was wrong and clearly it is not wrong for others so why should I then change? I think everyone should be allowed to race like that.”
Highlighting another example, Verstappen pointed to the moment when Hamilton completed his overtake for the lead, going extremely wide into the final corner in a move that resulted in the Red Bull driver off track.
“For me I was not wrong, and clearly only I was wrong somehow, like I said while other people do exactly the same thing and get nothing. Both of us were outside of the track, outside of the white line into Turn 1, and somehow they judged that it was my fault which I don’t agree with, and also the other penalty as well, I don’t agree with.
“And then afterwards he pushes me off track — he even looks at me, and just doesn’t turn in, just pushes me outside of the white line, the track edge, and he only gets a warning for that. Definitely it is not how it should be and also not fair because it seems other drivers can do different things and only seems like I get a penalty.”