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‘We’re not treated the same’: Mercedes getting special treatment from F1 stewards, Red Bull boss claims

The Independent
The Independent
 2021-12-06

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Red Bull boss Helmut Marko claims his team are “not treated the same” as Mercedes by F1 stewards after another fiery twist in the title race in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious from a wild race in Jeddah to draw level with Max Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ standings with one race remaining.

That was despite yet another see-saw tussle that saw the two rivals collide on track again just as they did at Silverstone and Monza earlier in the year.

A remarkable coming-together on lap 37 saw both drivers hauled in front of the stewards as Hamilton hit Verstappen, with the latter claiming he was attempting to let his rival pass following an earlier overtake.

In doing so, Verstappen slowed down significantly and Hamilton ran into the back of the Red Bull.

Verstappen's actions have since seen him penalised with a stewards’ investigation suggested both drivers could have evaded the incident but found Verstappen “predominantly at fault” and suggested “erratic” braking undertaken “suddenly and significantly” caused the eventual impact.

The result is a 10-second time penalty for the Dutch racer, but with Valtteri Bottas finishing 16 seconds behind him in third, it means he stays second in the final race standings. Verstappen was also handed two penalty points on his licence.

With Hamilton similarly not punished for falling more than 10 car lengths behind Verstappen before the second restart, Marko believes his team aren't getting a fair deal from the stewards.

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

“That was the one thing. The next thing was at the second start, Hamilton was more than 10 [car] lengths behind. [Sebastian] 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.”

Marko also disagreed with Hamilton's assertion that Verstappen's aggression was “over the limit” in the race.

“I don’t think there is any reason why he should cool down,” he added. “It’s the match between Mercedes and Red Bull, and the match between Max and [Lewis]. And just remember what happened in Silverstone, what’s happened in Budapest. Don’t forget that.”

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