Max Verstappen was labelled a ‘bad sportsman’ after opting not to take part in the podium celebrations. The Red Bull driver finished second behind Lewis Hamilton at the Saudi Arabian GP.
Max Verstappen has explained his reason for not partaking in the podium celebrations at the Saudi Arabian GP.
After the Briton’s third consecutive win, the drivers are now level on points heading into the season finale in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
The rivals came close on the track on Sunday as they controversially collided mid-race.
Sure to go down as one of the most dramatic F1 races in recent memory, it was stopped twice and featured three starts, with the two title contenders, who snubbed one another on the podium, each boasting the advantage at numerous stages.
Hamilton came out as the victor despite crashing into the back of Verstappen when the Red Bull driver slowed down in the middle of the track.
The Dutchman twice had to cede a position to Hamilton, who has won the last four championships, having illegally gained on him.
The 24-year-old was slapped with a 10-second penalty at the end of the race, but it did not impact his second-place finish.
Verstappen was labelled a ‘bad sportsman’ by some after leaving the podium before celebrating, and explained why he decided not to take part.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “Because there was no champagne. It wasn’t fun.”
Pundits were not impressed with his actions, as BBC commentator Sulaiman Folarin said: “Max Verstappen just confirmed he is a bad sportsman.
“He walked off the stage without celebrating as customary. Where are his apologists?”
While a fan on Twitter wrote: “Verstappen is the embodiment of how not to be a sportsman.”
F1 analyst Martin Brundle offered a slightly different reason for why he believed Verstappen snubbed the post-race celebrations.
“He walked off the back,” he told Sky F1. “He doesn’t want any part of that. He clearly feels very aggrieved he had to give the lead back — having offered the lead back, but there was contact.”
David Croft added: “Verstappen doesn’t want to celebrate on that podium tonight. If the gloves weren’t off before, they certainly are now.”
In what has been a truly scintillating F1 season, the final race at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi will determine who becomes the 2021 F1 world champion.