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Red Bull appreciate 'disadvantaged' Mercedes 'push' for points penalties

Red Bull appreciate 'disadvantaged' Mercedes 'push' for points penalties

Red Bull appreciate 'disadvantaged' Mercedes 'push' for points penalties

Red Bull appreciate 'disadvantaged' Mercedes 'push' for points penalties

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has stated he can see why Mercedes would push for points deductions with Lewis Hamilton at a "disadvantage" with fewer race wins than Max Verstappen.

Title rivals Verstappen and Hamilton entered the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix level on points with the Red Bull driver ahead on countback of wins with nine to his name for the year, compared to the Briton's eight.

In his pre-event notes, FIA race director Michael Masi made clear the full extent of the penalties the stewards can dish out, the season-ending race coming just one week after contact between the rivals in Saudi Arabia.

"There needs to be consistency and so I can see why Toto and Lewis, with the disadvantage of race wins, would be pushing for that but nobody’s going into this race to say it’s going to end in a crash," said Horner.

"There’s been great speculation about it but our focus is on trying to win this on track and do it at the chequered flag."

Verstappen and Hamilton will line up together on the front row of the grid for Sunday's race with the Dutchman on soft tyres and his Mercedes rival on mediums.

Asked for his thoughts on Masi's "explicit reminder" that the FIA can apply points deductions "in the most extreme circumstances", Horner responded by questioning how such statements fit into the consistency of decisions across the year.

"It’s one of 22 races. What’s the difference between this race, for example, and Silverstone or Hungary?" questioned Horner.

"There has to be consistency, there has to be a consistency of stewarding, or penalties and I think that’s the thing that drives people more mad than anything else, is when there is perceived to be an inconsistency.

"So that piece of the sporting code that’s been highlighted in the notes, that’s always been there, that’s not something that’s been reintroduced for this weekend.

"Nobody wants to see this championship end up in front of the stewards or in a gravel trap.

"We want to see these two titans of drivers, who have gone wheel-to-wheel so often this year go at it again this weekend, that’s what, as a team we want, as a driver Max wants."

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