Christian Horner accuses Lewis Hamilton of ‘mind games’ ahead of F1 finale
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has accused Lewis Hamilton of "mind games" ahead of his Formula One title showdown with Max Verstappen.
The two rivals are faced with a winner-takes-all scenario for the final race of the season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After 21 contests so far this season, there is nothing to separate them in terms of points, though Verstappen is in front in the standings due to having more wins.
Heading into the conclusion of one of the most gripping F1 seasons ever, Hamilton has called the championship leader "crazy".
And Horner believes the Brit, 36, is using his experience over the Dutchman, 24, to gain an advantage in the battle.
When asked if the Mercedes driver was playing mind games by the BBC, Horner replied: “Of course it is.
“Lewis is a wily competitor. He’s been around a long time.
"He’s been in this situation without the intensity of this competition for so many years that he knows how to put the spotlight on his competitor, how to put the governing body’s torch on him effectively.
“The best way to win this and the way we really want to win it is we want to do it on the track – that would be the most rewarding way to win this world championship.
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"One last major push to see if we can beat Lewis this weekend and it’s winner takes all.
“It’s a lot of pressure for a young guy – so we have to talk about these things – he’s pretty broad shouldered but there’s a sensitivity with him as well, and he’s conscious of the responsibility that’s with him.
“He just wants to go out there and do best he can this weekend – and hopefully it’ll be enough.
"If it’s not he’s had the most amazing season and we’re incredibly proud of him and we’ll come back fighting next year.
"But to get to this position with a driver like Lewis Hamilton, it’s a phenomenal achievement."
Hamilton and Verstappen have exchanged the lead of the championship on a number of occasions, dominating the rest of the field.
Horner is hoping his prodigy will secure the team's first title since Sebastien Vettel in 2013, while Hamilton is looking for a record-breaking eighth.
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