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F1 2021 | Saudi Arabia Grand Prix


Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has complained his team is not treated the same as Mercedes by Formula 1 stewards, after Max Verstappen was twice penalised during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was hit with 15 seconds of penalties, firstly for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, and secondly for the incident which saw Lewis Hamilton collide with the back of the Red Bull.

Speaking to Motorsport.com after what he called an “extraordinary” race, Marko said Red Bull was “not happy and we don’t accept the decisions.”

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“Our engineers are preparing that we can prove Max was constant with his braking, he didn’t brake test like Hamilton said,” Marko said.

“Then he crashed into our car, he unfortunately put two cuts in the rear tyre. That was so severe that we couldn’t attack anymore. We had to take speed out.”

Marko then raised an incident from 2010, when then-Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was penalised at the Hungarian Grand Prix for not staying within 10 lengths of the safety car, an incident that handed victory to Australia’s Mark Webber.

During the Saudi Arabian race, Red Bull officials were heard protesting to the FIA that Hamilton had dropped more than 10 lengths behind.

“At the second start, Hamilton was more than 10 lengths behind. Vettel got penalised in Budapest when he did it. But with this manoeuvre he [Hamilton] was preparing his tyre better for the start.

“Then he pushed Max off, no reaction. So we feel we are not treated the same.”

Hamilton was called before the stewards in Saudi Arabia for two separate offences during practice, ignoring yellow flags and impeding the Haas of Nikita Mazepin. He was cleared of the first charge, while the team was fined over the second, with no grid penalty for Hamilton.

It’s a case of claim and counter-claim as the fallout continues from a bitter race at the Jeddah circuit.

Hamilton and Verstappen are now locked on 369.5 points apiece heading to this week’s finale in Abu Dhabi, with the world championship on the line.

If neither scores a point, Verstappen would be crowned champion by virtue of having won more races this season.

The pair have clashed on track a number of times already this season, notably at Silverstone, which saw Verstappen taken to hospital after a 50G impact with the wall, and Monza, where both cars retired after coming together mid-race.

Hamilton, who is seeking a record eighth world title, suggested Verstappen, who is chasing his first, needed to temper his aggression.

“He’s over the limit, for sure,” Hamilton said.

“I’ve avoided collisions on so many occasions with the guy. I don’t always mind being the guy that does that. Because you live to fight another day, which I obviously did.”

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