Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has suggested that Max Verstappen cannot simply take out Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi to be sure of winning the season’s championship.
Hamilton and Verstappen touched three times at the Saudi Arabian race in a Grand Prix which was marked by heightened tensions between Mercedes and Red Bull, and ill feeling between the two drivers.
Hamilton ended up winning, with the Dutchman second, meaning that with the fastest lap bonus going to the Briton, the pair go into the final race of the season on 369.5 points each.
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Verstappen is ahead in the race should it go to a tie-break because he has more victories than the current champion, and with the young contender’s track record of aggressive driving, and previous incidents in Formula 1 history, it has led to speculation that the race might be settled by Verstappen sacrificing his own car in order to make sure he takes Hamilton out at the same time.
However, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Masi suggested that extra penalties could be issued to any driver who acts so cynically.
“I can’t control the actions of the two individuals, only they can,” he said.
“But within the regulations we have penalties, be it time or grid penalties. In addition, the International Sporting Code has provision for the stewards to disqualify a competitor or dock championship points.
“So, yes, Max could be deducted points, as could any team. We hope it isn’t necessary, but it is one of the tools available. I will remind all the teams and drivers of these provisions.”

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Masi said that while both drivers race to the edge, they know what the spirit of the rules are, explaining: “While they may not want to admit it, deep down they all know what is deemed legal, what is fair game, what is hard but fair racing and what is not.
“Every incident has to be treated separately. While they may look similar, they are not necessarily identical.
“There is a common belief I am responsible for the punishments meted out, but it is down to an independent panel of stewards to decide if a penalty is warranted.”
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