Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen analysed by Coulthard
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This weekend will see the new Formula 1 champion crowned. On Friday, during the second practice session, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time while Max Verstappen came fourth. The race has been pushed as a Hamilton vs Verstappen bout, the two drivers on equal points, with everything to play for.
Verstappen has been warned that crashing into Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will lead to “severe and immediate’ punishment”.
Hamilton managed to draw equal with the Red Bull driver last weekend after winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
At one point, Verstappen braked to allow Hamilton to pass, but it ended in the Brit crashing into the back of his car.
Verstappen was widely blamed for the collision, and Hamilton hit out and claimed that his rival goes “over the limit” for what is considered safe driving.
The 24-year-old Belgian was given a five-second penalty in Jeddah.
While young, Verstappen’s career has not been without controversy.
In 2017, during the US Grand Prix, he hit out at a Formula 1 steward after being handed a five-second penalty.
The restriction meant that he was demoted to fourth place.
He had charged from 16th to reach third after a stunning last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.
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But, on reaching the podium to collect his third-place trophy, he was turned away by FIA stewards.
They said he gained an unfair advantage with an illegal overtake on Turn 17, where he was said to have gone off the circuit to make the move.
He was only told about the decision to hand him the penalty as he stepped foot on the podium.
It left him raging, and he hit out during an explosive post-race interview.
He fumed: “Big shame you miss out on the podium afterwards.
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“They take you away again but it’s just one idiot steward up there who always makes the decision.
“It’s not good for the sport.”
He went as far as to call for a boycott of the US Grand Prix.
Verstappen added: “We had a really great race, but with those stupid decisions you really kill the sport.
“At the end of the day everybody is running wide everywhere, there are no track limits.
“At Turn 9 you can run wide, at Turn 19 you can go off the track and nobody will say anything.
“It’s the same with [Valtteri] Bottas – I went for a move, and he continued outside the track; he came back, I really had to pass him, and nothing has been done against that while he definitely gained an advantage.
“It’s not good for the sport – they have to be really clear on the rules that it’s not allowed.”
Verstappen has yet to win a Formula 1 title.
Hamilton won the championship in 2008, 2015, and every year since 2017.
Many, however, believe that Verstappen may clinch the title in Sunday’s race.
The pair go head-to-head this afternoon in the qualifiers.
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