LEWIS HAMILTON’s title fight with Max Verstappen has turned into a real life Squid Game.
Hamilton has overcome the odds in a fierce battle to rival the hit TV series on Netflix where the characters take part in bloody contests to achieve glory.
F1 will host their own version of the red-light, green-light game on Sunday in Abu Dhabi in a winner-takes-all contest.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the scintillating finale is beyond the dream of Hollywood filmmakers – PLUS he also fired another barb at Hamilton.
He said: “The way we have fought. The way we have pushed in this campaign, no-one has come close to challenging Mercedes in the last eight years and here we are, in the final race with a shot.
“A long shot in the constructors’ championship and an equal shot with the drivers’ championship.
“We have pushed to the limit. Pushed each other and pushed our competitors and here we are at the final race for the showdown.
“It almost feels like Squid Game that we have ended up here on equal points. It is going to make compelling viewing on Sunday.”
Both drivers are level on points and have been warned by the stewards in no uncertain terms they will have points deducted – or even banned for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
They came to blows last out in Saudi Arabia to add to the high-profile crashes at Silverstone and Monza.
Verstappen was punished as a result of two flashpoints in Jeddah, not to mention the five-place grid penalty he received in Qatar for ignoring double-waved yellow flags.
To add insult to injury, Hamilton escaped with only a ticking off for the same infringement last weeked.
The Brit also labelled Verstappen a “f****** crazy guy” – with Horner suggesting his driver has been made a victim of the Mercedes PR juggernaut.
In a stinging attack the Red Bull chief added: “Lewis has a standing within the sport and what he says carries a lot of weight.
“He has used every tool available to him to put Max under pressure this year.
“He is backed up by the Mercedes media machine – a huge amount of pressure has been placed on Max.
“Max is he’s just a young lad. He’s a 24-year-old who drives with bravery, with passion, with skill and he’s up against not only Lewis but a huge machine in Mercedes-Benz.
“All credit to him the way he’s handled that pressure this year and hasn’t been drawn into it, hasn’t been sucked into it.
“As Lewis Hamilton indeed called us, we’re just an energy drinks company going racing.
“The Mercedes Formula One team have become a machine. They have the weight and power of the parent company behind them.
“I can’t believe it’s particularly comfortable being beaten by an energy drinks manufacturer!
“We’re a team of racers, we’re going racing, we’ve got a phenomenal driver who has driven his heart out this year, and it’s been intense on track and off track.
“I do think that the spotlight, even the narrative of this last week of this Mad Max scenario, calling him crazy, there’s been a very clear narrative.”
Horner shared an awkward handshake with Toto Wolff in a toe-curling stunt for a televised press conference.
And while Merc boss hailed the FIA for their pre-race warning to both drivers Horner says his driver will NOT change his approach to racing.
He said: “On occasion Max has been treated harshly. I think he has come under scrutiny that we haven’t seen applied consistently with other incidents. And he feels aggrieved by that.
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“The problem for Max is the scrutiny is on him. He has the spotlight positioned on him, he’s running at the front.
“He’s driven fantastically well. Max drives in a manner that ignites passion.
“It has brought fans into the sport and we do not want him to change. We want him to drive in exactly the manner that he has that has put him on the precipice of competing with Lewis for this world championship.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton topped the second session of practice here at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The reigning champion was over half a second quicker than the Red Bull man who was only fourth fastest.
Hamilton said: “It’s been a decent day, I like the changes they’ve made to the track – it’s made it free-flowing and more enjoyable.
“It’s obviously close between us all and a little unknown in terms of relative pace but I’m sure it’s going to be super close, as it has been in the previous races.
“The car doesn’t feel too bad. Now we just need to crunch through the data and try to figure out how we can improve, the target is always moving.”