Sky Sports left red-faced as they remove Max Verstappen advert after Red Bull complaint

F1 preview: Abu Dhabi run-through as Verstappen and Hamilton go head-to-head

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Sky Sports were left with no choice but to pull an advert featuring Max Verstappen following a complaint from F1 giants Red Bull. All eyes will be on Verstappen this weekend as the Dutchman goes head-to-head with Brit Lewis Hamilton in a thrilling winner-takes-all scenario in the last Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi. 

The two drivers are amazingly level on 369.5 points going into Sunday’s showdown, and a huge audience is expected for the event, which Sky are sharing the viewing rights to with Channel 4.

But the broadcasting giant’s coverage of the race did not get off to the best start after they were subject to an issue raised by Red Bull over one of their adverts.

The advert was played as Sky showed the practice sessions on Friday, and it featured a slow-motion replay of Verstappen’s massive crash at Silverstone earlier this year.

The incident, which involved Hamilton, saw Verstappen knocked unconscious, and it was without a doubt the most severe collision of his young career.

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As the footage played on the Sky advert, a message bearing the words ‘Merry Christmas’ appeared on the screen.

Red Bull clearly believed it was not appropriate, and got in touch to get it removed, which Sky promptly did.

A source told RacingNews365.com: “A 51g crash where the driver was air-lifted to hospital being used as a Merry Christmas message is very poor taste indeed.”

Meanwhile, both Hamilton and Verstappen appeared pleased with the decision for Sky and Channel 4 to share the coverage of Sunday’s race.

Speaking to Express Sport, Hamilton said: “I mean, I grew up in an era when it was free and remember turning it on many, years ago and I know that’s the way the world has gone obviously with pay TV, but I think that’s amazing. Particularly in a time that we’re living in right now where people have been affected so heavily by COVID.

“People lost jobs, businesses, and so I think that’s great. It’s a great gift, I think at this point of the year for people to be able to watch a sport and not have to worry how were they going to be able to watch it.”

Verstappen added: “Same for me, of course. It’s great for the people to be able to watch it.

“And I think also for us, it’s even more special because it’s the first time a Dutch driver has a chance of winning a championship of course.

“So hopefully a lot of people will tune in.”

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