Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff blasted as ‘sour’ by Max Verstappen

Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step

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Max Verstappen has taken aim at Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff as Red Bull gear up to reveal that they have settled with the FIA over a punishment for breaching last year’s budget cap. The Austrian team were found to have overspent the limit earlier this month and have since reached terms over an ‘accepted breach agreement’ that will see them admit their wrongdoing and accept any penalties imposed on them.

Mercedes have been leading calls for Red Bull to be punished harshly after breaking the financial rules imposed on all teams last season, during which Verstappen managed to clinch his maiden Drivers’ Championship title at the expense of Hamilton. The Dutchman has since aimed a thinly-veiled dig at the Silver Arrows in an interview with De Telegraaf by branding his critics as ‘sour’ and insisting that, unlike him, they will never be able to get over their frustrations.

“I’m not involved in it but it’s a bit frustrating, we believe we have done nothing wrong,” said Verstappen when quizzed on Red Bull’s budget cap row.

“It turned out that some things fell under the budget ceiling that we had not expected. But in the end it’s not up to me. They are sour anyway, it no longer matters what you say or do. I can let it go and they probably can’t, they will never be able to and it is a problem for them.”

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Red Bull are expected to hold a special press conference on Friday to discuss their ‘accepted breach agreement’ with the FIA, with a deal having reportedly been struck between the two parties several days ago. However, the process of revealing the news was delayed by the FIA after the death of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz last weekend.

The financial breach in question has been described as a minor infraction by the sport’s governing body, although the wording of the rules means that it could still constitute an overspend of several million pounds. Red Bull are widely expected to receive both a financial and sporting penalty when their punishment is unveiled later on Friday, but the full details regarding the situation are not yet known.

Mercedes boss Wolff has been vocal in his belief that Red Bull should feel the wrath of the FIA as a result of their excessive spending habits, which the 50-year-old says will have made a big difference in shaping the outcome of last year’s Drivers’ Championship battle.

“I don’t know the exact excess, but one or two million can decide a championship, the FIA has to make a meaningful decision,” said Wolff, as quoted by Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, last week.

“I just don’t think the 2021 title should be in doubt anymore. This is useful for the future so that everything is fairer and clearer. The financial regulations are like the technical and sporting regulations. If you made a technical mistake, you get a penalty for it. That should also apply to the financial regulations, even if it is new.”

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