Sainz urges F1 title rivals to keep it clean for ‘image of the sport’

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has urged championship rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton to keep their Formula 1 title fight clean for “the image of the sport”. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B battle for the lead at the first race restart.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull…

Red Bull’s Verstappen and Mercedes driver Hamilton go into this weekend’s winner-takes-all finale in Abu Dhabi level on 269.5 points after 21 races. 

The pair clashed several times during last weekend’s hugely controversial Saudi Arabian Grand Prix before Hamilton eventually triumphed to set up a thrilling last race title-decider. 

But Sainz is hoping both drivers will keep their fight fair and avoid a potentially contentious conclusion to one of the best F1 seasons in years. 

“From my side, I just wish that they can keep it clean this last weekend and give it a good showdown - for the image of the sport, more than anything else,” said Sainz. 

“For the benefit of Formula 1, and that we are still a sport not only a show, and show good sportsmanship and a good showdown in the grand final.”

Sainz revealed he was completely engrossed by their battle when he re-watched F1’s first-ever race in Jeddah in his room. 

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari

“It is the ideal scenario for Formula 1 as a sport and it’s super exciting to watch,” he explained. 

“When I went back to my room on Sunday night I tuned in and replayed the race just to see what the hell happened there upfront and why was everyone talking about what had happened. 

“When I had the chance to watch it you realise how tight this battle is, how every race you have a fight between the two championship contenders and how exciting and how ideal it is for Formula 1.

“Unfortunately on Twitter and social media there’s a lot of polarisation. A lot of, I wouldn’t say abuse between both fans, but very polarised, and it makes the fight a bit less exciting when you see the two sides fighting each other so much.

“I think it’s just better just to be a bit more neutral, enjoy the fight and let the best man win.”

But Sainz refused to share who he feels deserves to win the title due to the polarisation caused by Verstappen and Hamilton’s rivalry. 

“I’m not going to comment personally, who’s been my driver of the season,” he said. 

“Particularly because if I say one, then one side will criticise me and say ‘no, Lewis has had a better car’, if I say Max… it’s too polarised.

“I just don’t want to take a stance because it doesn’t make sense. Looking at how polarised – I am repeating myself – it is in social media.

“I think they have both done incredible seasons, I think they are both driving at an incredible level.” 

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