The title fight between Max Verstappen and Leiws Hamilton has taken another lousy turn, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner now calling Mercedes’ media arm.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference ahead of Monday’s race, Horner claimed that a clear “narrative” had been pushed against Verstappen.
He went further in an interview with the Daily mail, accusing Mercedes of having carried out a smear campaign “concerted” to present Verstappen as “mad” and “irresponsible”.
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“Of course, this is a concerted campaign by Mercedes,” he told the To post.
“It was part of a story to put so much pressure on the marshals to act differently than any other race.
“It’s a campaign that was carried out secretly to put Max in the spotlight, give him a slogan, present him as this crazy and irresponsible pilot, put as much pressure as possible on him, on the team and, ultimately, on the Board of directors.
“We have seen in Brazil the comments about the sanctions being laughable, or Lewis being persecuted. Mercedes has one of the smartest media arms in the paddock and uses every tool they can. “
Horner also addressed the account at a general press conference on Saturday, saying the “Mercedes media machine” is putting “enormous” pressure on his driver.
“I think on occasion he’s been treated harshly, he’s been subjected to scrutiny that we haven’t seen applied consistently with other incidents and he feels aggrieved by that. “said the boss of Red Bull.
“I think the problem for Max is that the exam is on him. He has the spotlight on him, he runs ahead and faces a seven-time world champion.
“I think the allegations about his conduct, his driving style and his standards of conduct – there has been an account of pressure being put on him. He drove incredibly well the whole year.
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While Verstappen has come under increased scrutiny for his aggressive driving style, Horner has claimed he is actually good for the sport.
“Max pilots in a way that ignites passion,” he said.
“It brought new fans to the sport.
“The mental pressure on a young man, with the scrutiny he has had, has been immense this year. The way he has conducted himself and handled things, it is true that he feels wronged by some of these decisions.
Red Bull has always backed Verstappen and insisted he didn’t want him to change his aggressive approach ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was unwilling to dwell too much on the drama at the press conference, blaming it instead on a simple difference of opinion.
“I don’t want to pick up on specific incidents or comment on the conduct itself,” he said.
“It’s probably more a question of perception. Your own perception and perspective which will influence your way of thinking and your way of seeing the world. It’s OK.
“We try to do the best we can, knowing that we also have that influence, to have the clearest view on things. Obviously this differs from Red Bull. It’s OK.
“They see it through their glasses and have an opinion. We see it through our glasses and have an opinion. Stewards have a very difficult job of remaining neutral and making decisions. ”