Ecclestone accuses Mercedes of ‘bullying’ Verstappen

Henry Valantine
Bernie Ecclestone up close. Austria January 2020

Bernie Ecclestone up close in sunglasses with a beard. Austria January 2020

Bernie Ecclestone believes Mercedes are “not playing fair” with Red Bull, and they’ve been “bullying” Max Verstappen this season.

The two teams have been at loggerheads all year, with Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the forefront of the World Championship battle this season.

There have been several occasions where tensions have risen between Mercedes and Red Bull, and Verstappen and Hamilton themselves – with the Mercedes driver accusing his title rival of being “over the limit” in how he races after the two collided once again in Jeddah.

Ecclestone feels Mercedes are predominantly at fault for how the animosity between the two teams has escalated, and believes the reigning champions are trying to play “psychological games” with Verstappen.

Bernie Ecclestone speaking with Christian Horner. Brazil November 2019
Bernie Ecclestone speaking with Christian Horner in front of the Red Bull pit wall. Brazil November 2019

“Max is a kid compared to Lewis and the worst thing is Lewis has a massive publicity campaign working for him,” Ecclestone said to AFP.

“They have been pushing down all the time on Max and then the race directors have been looking in because Toto goes to the race director.

“Max has more than a race to confront as he has them too on his back because they are bullying him and not playing fair. It is psychological game playing.”

Ecclestone elaborated on how Mercedes and Hamilton’s experience in winning titles have played their part in the season so far, with Verstappen having been in his first year-long fight for the World Championship.

The former F1 CEO thinks Hamilton is currently a “much stronger character” than Verstappen as a result, with the Red Bull driver competing at the front on a consistent basis for the first time.

 

“Max has had a few years of racing but has not had years in the streets like Lewis,” said the 91-year-old.

“It has built character and knowing he would win the race with Mercedes being the dominant force over the past few years has made him a much stronger character than Max.

“For Max, this season is the first one he has had a car capable of winning regularly whereas before it was nothing like competitive.”

Hamilton and Verstappen head into the season finale level on 369.5 points each in the Drivers’ standings, with the Red Bull driver officially leading through having an extra race victory.

 

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