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Verstappen: Saudi F1 penalties show I’m treated differently to other drivers

Max Verstappen claims he is "treated differently" to other Formula 1 drivers after receiving penalties in Saudi Arabia which he felt he did not deserve.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Verstappen heads into this weekend's Abu Dhabi season finale tied on points with Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers' championship after a controversial battle in Jeddah last weekend.

Verstappen was hit with a five-second time penalty during the race for gaining an advantage off-track while battling Hamilton, who called his rival "f**king crazy" over team radio as they went wheel-to-wheel at Turn 1 and both ran off-track.

A 10-second post-race penalty was later handed to Verstappen for causing a collision after the stewards said he braked in an "erratic" manner when trying to allow Hamilton ahead, leading to contact.

Verstappen said after the race that the reaction proved there were too many rules in F1, and he claimed on Thursday in Abu Dhabi that "clearly things don't apply for everyone".

"The things that I did in terms of defending, two other guys in terms of racing also did, and they didn't even get a mention or a penalty," Verstappen said.

"So I don't understand, because I thought I was just racing hard. What happened for me didn't deserve any penalty, and clearly the other two people who did it, they didn't get one, but clearly it's only me who gets it.

"Of course, fighting at the front, people are a bit more critical I guess, but for me I don't understand."

Verstappen has faced criticism for his actions on-track in Saudi Arabia, with 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve calling it "rental karting".

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc said on Thursday that he thought Verstappen was "over the limit", while Lando Norris joked in the press conference that brake testing only results in a 10-second penalty before saying "no comment" when asked for his thoughts on the incidents.

"At the end of the day, criticism, that's always there," Verstappen said.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, make contact as they battle for the lead

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, make contact as they battle for the lead

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"But I think from my side, what is unfair [is] that I am treated differently to other drivers.

"Clearly other drivers can get away with it, and I can't. I think that's a bit of a problem here."

Asked if he would be changing his approach for the season finale in Abu Dhabi in light of the penalties, Verstappen replied: "To be honest, the only thing I ask is that it's fair for everyone, and clearly that's not the case at the moment.

"But like I said, I don't feel like I was wrong, and clearly, it is not wrong for others, so why should I change when others are allowed to race like that?

"I think everyone should be allowed to race like that."

Verstappen cited both his penalty for running wide at Turn 1 and the lack of action when he was forced wide by Hamilton when ultimately losing the lead at the final corner as examples of varying treatment.

"Other people do exactly the same thing and they get nothing, because both of us were off the track," Verstappen said.

"We were outside of the white line into Turn 1, and yeah, somehow they judged that it was my fault, which I don't agree with.

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