According to former Formula 1 top man Bernie Ecclestone, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are playing an "unfair game" in the battle for the world title with Max Verstappen.

The 91-year-old Briton thinks the Dutchman from Red Bull is being bullied by his competitors and speaks of a "psychological game" that influenced the title fight.

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Verstappen still had 32 points ahead of his British rival in July, who will start the final race next Sunday in Abu Dhabi by catching up with exactly the same number of points.

"Max is a child compared to Lewis, who also has a huge PR team behind him," said Ecclestone.

"They are constantly trying to bring down Max and Toto (Wolff, team boss at Mercedes, ed.) also has a lot of influence on the race directors. Max is not only fighting Lewis. Mercedes is playing a psychological game."

Ecclestone thinks Hamilton is the strongest when it comes to psychological warfare.

"Max has been in it for a few years, but does not have the experience of Lewis, who for years has dealt with the knowledge that he rules with Mercedes. For Max it is the first time that he is in a car that allows him to become world champion."

Bernie Ecclestone with Max Verstappen in 2016.

Bernie Ecclestone with Max Verstappen in 2016.

Photo: ANP

'Lewis does everything in his power, but has help'

Ecclestone hopes to see a better race on Sunday than last weekend;

Verstappen and Hamilton regularly argued with each other in the Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia, which was disrupted by incidents and the Briton even collided with the back of the Dutchman.

In any case, the former CEO thinks that the one with the most luck will win.

"In any case, it's good for the sport. In recent years, the fans actually knew in advance who was going to win. This year is different. There is nothing wrong with Lewis as far as I'm concerned. He does everything in his power. , but it does help."

Verstappen and Hamilton start the race in the desert in Abu Dhabi with the same number of points (369.5).

Hamilton can capture his eighth world title, while Verstappen is chasing his first world championship.

Timetable GP Abu Dhabi

  • Friday 10.30 am: First free practice

  • Friday 2 p.m.: Second free practice

  • Saturday 11 am: Third free practice

  • Saturday 2 p.m.: Qualification

  • Sunday 2 pm: Race

See also: Preview GP Abu Dhabi: 'Hamilton favorite, but Verstappen gets opportunities'