Verstappen warned, 'steward Abu Dhabi not a fan of Max'

08-12-2021 11:49
F1 News
Verstappen warned, 'steward Abu Dhabi not a fan of Max'

It is perhaps the last thing that the Formula 1 fans want that the race in Abu Dhabi, and with it the world championship, be decided by a penalty or any influence by the stewards. Nevertheless, Max Verstappen will have to be extra careful this weekend, because the steward who has often punished the Dutchman is also present in Abu Dhabi - Het Belang van Limburg.

Not a fan of Verstappen

The steward in question is Garry Connelly; the Australian is one of the main stewards selected for each race. The former rally driver is known not to be a fan of Verstappen, and has been involved as a (chief) steward in several penalties for the Dutchman. In Saudi Arabia, Connelly was one of the stewards who gave Verstapen two time penalties for incidents with Lewis Hamilton.

Connelly often involved in Verstappen penalties

At the 2017 United States Grand Prix, Connelly was also one of the stewards when Verstappen received a time penalty for overtaking Kimi Raikkonen off-track on the final lap. The Dutchman was then removed from the podium ceremony, and the penalty was especially notable because other drivers who went four wheels off the track that weekend were not penalised.

Another example is the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix. "At the time, Connelly wanted to penalise Verstappen for an incident with Lewis Hamilton at the chicane, but the other three stewards didn't think it was necessary. Connelly then went to Mercedes to urge the team to complain. Team principal Toto Wolff, who was already on the plane, eventually had the complaint withdrawn before it was dealt with", is how Het Belang van Limburg describes the incident.

So it's not surprising that Connelly has been accused of picking on Verstappen for years. It's up to Verstappen to not give him a reason to hand out a penalty in the last weekend of the season.

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