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F1 chief Michael Masi sends warning to Max Verstappen amid Lewis Hamilton crash fears


Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton meet in Abu Dhabi with everything at stake (Picture: Luis Gene / AFP)

F1 race director Michael Masi has warned Max Verstappen any dirty play in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi title decider will not go unpunished.

The Red Bull driver is the man tasked with stopping seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton from defending his title with both drivers heading into the final race of the season level on points in the overall standings.

The fact Verstappen leads Hamilton in the standings based on his nine victories this season compared to Hamilton’s eight gives the Dutchman a slight advantage.

Some F1 fans fear all it takes to decide the title now will be Verstappen bumping Hamilton off the road and the 24-year-old will be crowned world champion for the first time.

Both drivers have made contact with one another this season, most notably in Monza when they both crashed out of the race, and in Saudi Arabia last weekend Hamilton bizarrely went into the back of Verstappen when being allowed to overtake him.

Race director Masi is hoping he doesn’t have to intervene in anything controversial this Sunday between the pair but has warned the drivers they will be punished if they break the rules.

‘I can’t control the actions of the two individuals, only they can,’ Masi told the Daily Mail.

F1 fans will be hoping the pair don’t repeat scenes seen at Monza (Picture: Peter Van Egmond/Getty Images)

‘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.

‘I hope it is not decided in the stewards’ room,’ he says, ‘but by the two guys out on the track. It is up to them and nobody else.’

In other news, Channel 4 has confirmed Sunday’s title decider will be shown live on free-to-air television.

The channel has struck a deal with Sky to share the rights to the winner-takes-all race that is due to begin at 1pm GMT.


MORE : Christian Horner aims sly dig at Lewis Hamilton as Max Verstappen reacts sarcastically to Driver of the Day award


MORE : Lewis Hamilton on alert for ‘Mad Max’ in title decider

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