Red Bull flared up against Sky Sports after a Christmas commercial for the channel showed Max Verstappen crashing into the barriers at Silverstone.
There is nothing to separate Verstappen and Hamilton in the Drivers’ World Championships as the 2021 edition wraps up on Sunday.
The Briton won in Jeddah last weekend, but it is his Dutch counterpart who still leads the standings thanks to an additional race victory to his name this season.
If neither of the two drivers finishes the race in Abu Dhabi, it is the Red Bull driver who will win the title, thanks to his only additional victory.
One of the most controversial moments of the season came at the British Grand Prix when Verstappen pulled out of the race after a high-speed crash with Hamilton in the first lap.
Verstappen wrote on Twitter the evening after the race: “Very disappointed to have been eliminated like that. The penalty imposed does not help us and does not do justice to the dangerous movement Lewis made on the track.
“Watching the celebrations while still in the hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behavior, but we are moving on.”
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The accident, which took the 24-year-old to hospital for precautionary measures, sparked an uproar at the time and was at the center of an argument on Friday involving Red Bull and Sky Sports.
The broadcaster used the incident as part of a ‘Merry Christmas’ message on its Formula 1 channel, sparking anger at Red Bull who complained about its use.
A spokesperson for Red Bull told Dutch publication De Telegraaf: “We are extremely disappointed that footage is used of an accident, in which someone ended up in hospital.
“It’s in very bad taste. We hope it will be deleted soon.”
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The images also shocked some fans on social media.
While a Twitter user added: “Disgusting … if @LewisHamilton has any respect for max he should say something about it, his own country is doing it and he’s the one who caused it. the collision.”
“Now I want Max Verstappen to win the championship more than ever,” added another.
A third person said: “We all know Sky is biased towards Hamilton, but this commercial featuring Verstappen in the incident he ended up in hospital for is a shame.”
Sky Sports have withdrawn the footage, following pressure from Red Bull.