Tyson Fury says Max Verstappen has been ‘treated horribly’ by media ahead of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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  • Max Verstappen
    Max Verstappen
    Dutch-Belgian racing driver
  • Tyson Fury
    Tyson Fury
    British boxer
  • Lewis Hamilton
    Lewis Hamilton
    British racing driver
Max Verstappen courted controversy at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last weekend - Tyson Fury says Max Verstappen has been ‘treated horribly’ by media ahead of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - GETTY IMAGES
Max Verstappen courted controversy at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last weekend - Tyson Fury says Max Verstappen has been ‘treated horribly’ by media ahead of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - GETTY IMAGES

Tyson Fury believes Max Verstappen is being treated unfairly by the media, likening the backlash to the Dutchman’s drive in Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to his own “trial by media” and saying the Red Bull youngster should be “given a break”.

Fury, who recovered from two knockdowns to beat Deontay Wilder in an all-time classic fight in October, retaining his WBC heavyweight title in the process, posted a story to his Instagram on Tuesday in which he wished both Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton luck in this weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.

After 21 races, the two drivers head to the United Arab Emirates level on points, with Verstappen, 23, aiming for his maiden title and Hamilton a record eighth. Interest in the race has gone through the roof after a spectacular and chaotic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, won by Hamilton.

But Fury said the backlash to Verstappen’s drive in Jeddah – where he was penalised four times and handed 15 seconds of time penalties – was unwarranted. “Just been doing a bit of reading up about the F1 rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, and how Max is being made out to be a bit of a bad boy in the media,” Fury said on his Instagram story.

“I know what it feels like to be treated horribly by the media. And it’s not nice, you know, especially when you’re young and you’re ambitious and you want to win.

“So give him a bit of a break, he’s only a young lad trying his best. Good luck to both of them in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”

Tyson Fury at the MTK fight night at York Hall earlier this month - GETTY IMAGES
Tyson Fury at the MTK fight night at York Hall earlier this month - GETTY IMAGES

Fury, who is an acquaintance of Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, is understood to have sent Verstappen a private message of encouragement last week after Horner likened the young Dutchman to the boxer in a Telegraph Sport interview.

“Max drives like Tyson Fury fights,” Horner said. “He’s got that same heart. You just know he’s going to give it everything and, if you knock him down, he’s going to get back up. He’s got that burning desire, that all-out commitment.”

Fury ended his Instagram story by saying the rivalry reminded him of the epic 1976 title decider between British driver James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda, who came back from a near-fatal accident at the Nurburgring to make it to the final race in Japan.

“This rivalry reminds me a bit of James Hunt and Niki Lauda, racing for the title [in 1975]. Who is going to win it? C’mon the boys!”

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