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Abu Dhabi GP: Max Verstappen says he's 'treated differently' vs Lewis Hamilton ahead of F1 title decider

Max Verstappen, after recent penalties, insists that he's "definitely treated differently" to other drivers; Verstappen also says his opinion of Lewis Hamilton has changed this season, "and not in a positive way": Watch Abu Dhabi GP title finale live this weekend

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Max Verstappen feels he gets treated differently to other drivers, saying: 'I end up with a penalty while others do the same thing and don't get one', ahead of his championship decider with Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi GP.

Max Verstappen believes he is "definitely treated differently" by F1 stewards compared to other drivers, including rival Lewis Hamilton, as he hit out at his recent penalties ahead of the title-deciding Abu Dhabi GP.

Verstappen goes into this weekend's thrilling finale level on points with Hamilton but also amid renewed scrutiny over his driving style, having been hit with two penalties at the last race in Saudi Arabia.

The Dutchman was first adjudged to have forced Hamilton wide at Turn 1, receiving a five-second time penalty, before an "erratic" 'brake-test' against his rival led to a collision, and him losing another 10 seconds.

One to go: How it stands in the title chases

Drivers' Points
1) Max Verstappen 369.5
2) Lewis Hamilton 369.5
1) Mercedes 587.5
2) Red Bull 559.5

Verstappen questioned those decisions ahead of the winner-takes-all Yas Marina weekend, telling Sky F1 his committed and often-uncompromising approach has "clearly" counted against him in the stewards' room.

"Definitely I get treated differently to some other drivers," said Verstappen, whose on-track conduct, along with Hamilton's, is under the microscope this weekend with so much on the line.

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Lewis Hamilton says: 'it's great that it's clear everyone knows what the rules are' after Race Director Michael Masi stated points deductions will be enforced at the F1 season showdown with Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi GP.

"I end up with a penalty where others do the same thing and don't get one. I don't know why that is. You have to ask other people that question."

Referencing the €50,000 fine he paid the FIA for touching Hamilton's wing back in Brazil, a jovial Verstappen added: "I already paid them a nice fine so they had good dinners and wine, but clearly it doesn't help!"

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Verstappen: Title fight has changed opinion of Hamilton

Verstappen said he was talking about the incident between the Ferraris, and Lance Stroll and George Russell, in Saudi Arabia when he said others did "the same thing" and avoided a penalty.

Speaking about his two penalties with the written media, Verstappen added: "Clearly only I was wrong somehow, like I said other people do exactly the same thing and get nothing.

"Both of us were off the track into turn one and somehow they judged that it was my fault, that I don't agree with.

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Simon Lazenby is joined by Martin Brundle and Damon Hill to look ahead to the final showdown between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for the F1 World Championship at the Abu Dhabi GP.

"The other penalty [causing the collision] as well I don't agree with, then afterwards he [Hamilton] pushes me off the track, he even looks at me, he doesn't turn in, he just pushes me outside the white line, the track edge, and he only gets a warning for that.

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

Illuminating the heightened hostility in the title fight, Verstappen gave a telling answer when asked if his opinion of Mercedes and Hamilton had changed over the course of the season.

"Yes, very much so," he replied. "And not in a positive way."

The key live Sky F1 times for Abu Dhabi

FRIDAY On Air Session start
Practice One 9am 9.30am
Practice Two 12.45pm 1pm
Practice Three 9.45am 10am
Qualifying 12pm 1pm
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 11.30am 1pm

But he also was optimistic about there being no controversy this weekend.

"I think we have raced really well together the whole year and put on a great show for everyone at the end of the day," he said. "Hopefully of course we can do that again here."

Alonso: Verstappen deserves title

One driver who is no stranger to an Abu Dhabi title finale is Fernando Alonso, who famously lost his title lead to Sebastian Vettel back in 2010 at the Yas Marina circuit. Two-time champion Alonso said Hamilton and Verstappen had been on "another level" this season but feels the Dutchman deserves his first crown.

"Mercedes lately I think is a little bit more performing and they won a couple of races now but Max is driving, in my opinion, one step ahead of all of us," said Alpine driver Alonso. "We saw the lap in Jeddah until he touched the wall in the last corner.

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen talk to the media ahead of their title deciding showdown at the Abu Dhabi GP.

"That lap was coming from Max, not the Red Bull. So I think Mercedes, they deserve the constructors' championship because I think the car is superior and Max maybe overall in the year was driving one step ahead of everyone."

Alonso added: "It's not that I support Max, I think he deserves it - I think he was driving that Red Bull to another level.

"I won't give any advice because they are very well prepared, they are committed, they are fast, they are professional. Both of them are driving at the limits so I think it's very interesting to watch from the outside."

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