Martin Brundle disturbed by Max Verstappen ‘tactics’ with strong FIA accusation

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Max Verstappen’s erratic tactics behind the wheel have seen him come under intense scrutiny recently, with the latest incident resulting in a 10-second time penalty in Sunday’s race in Saudi Arabia. And former Formula One driver-turned-pundit Martin Brundle has suggested the only way to control him in his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton is with “endless reviews and occasional penalties” as the title battle hots up.

Verstappen took the lead from Hamilton after a crazy start to the race which saw two red flags with Mercedes and Red Bull trying to put their driver in the best position possible.

The Dutchman was eventually pipped by Hamilton to the line, but there was far more to the story than the final classification suggested.

The biggest controversy came on lap 37, where Verstappen was ordered to allow Hamilton past on a straight, yet the Red Bull driver tapped his brakes whilst the Mercedes star was behind him, causing the duo to collide.

And after cutting a huge corner against the Brit on lap 43, Verstappen was issued with a time penalty to signal a bad day at the office.

As a result, Sky commentator and ex-F1 star Martin Brundle has berated Verstappen for his actions on the track – claiming he shouldn’t resort to such tactics.

“Formula One has a problem in that the design of the racetracks, particularly with regard to the ‘safety’ run off areas and the Sporting Regulations, simply can’t contain the way that Max Verstappen is choosing to go racing at the moment,” Brundle told Sky Sports.

“The FIA’s only way to control him is with endless reviews and occasional penalties. He’s been playing the game given that, with his points advantage, Lewis Hamilton simply can’t afford to have an accident with him and lose an opportunity to reduce the points deficit.

“Even now despite being absolutely level on points going into the final round, for the first time in F1 since 1974, that remains the case given that he has a 9-8 race victory tally should there be a count-back.

“Such is Max’s car control and cunning he’s sometimes able to pull off the audacious moves and leave a margin of doubt as to whether it’s hard racing or simply a professional foul outside of the regulations. And it’s those moments, such as the infamous turn four in Brazil, which are generating the confusion, controversies and inconsistencies.

“I’m in awe of Verstappen’s driving skills and racing nous, and have championed him since the Chinese Grand Prix of 2015 when he was in the Toro Rosso. His touch and control behind the wheel is something to behold, but it saddens me that he’s resorting to such tactics, he’s better than that.

“And for all his carefree attitude it will be such a shame if his legacy is to be labelled as an unfair driver.

“Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher had their faults too, and I was on the receiving end from both of them on occasions, but it’s a sizable dent on their immense reputations, not a positive.”

The pair are both on 369.5 points going into the final race of the season at Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Hamilton will be looking to win a record eighth Drivers’ Championship, which would also be his fifth in a row to cement his name as the best driver of all-time.

However, Verstappen will look to win his first ever title at the age of just 24 in what is sure to be a blockbuster clash.

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