DECEMBER 17, 2021
Verstappen tells Latifi to turn off his phone
New world champion Max Verstappen has advised Nicholas Latifi to "turn off his phone".
After the highly controversial chequered flag flew in Abu Dhabi last Sunday, Christian Horner offered Canadian Latifi a "lifetime supply of Red Bull" for crashing and triggering the championship-altering late safety car.
Since then, some Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes fans have been firing conspiracy theories and abuse at the Williams driver on social media.
"Obviously it was never my intention to inadvertently influence the championship," the 26-year-old driver said. "I made a mistake and ruined my own race.
"I can only apologise for influencing and creating an opportunity, but again - I made a mistake," Latifi added.
Before Sunday's explosive 2021 finale, Red Bull boss Dr Helmut Marko said Verstappen was handling the intense pressure of the championship battle by avoiding the press and social media.
Verstappen, 24, now advises Latifi to take a similar approach.
"If he is smart, he will turn off his phone and ignore it," the Dutchman told De Telegraaf newspaper.
"I just hope Nicholas can enjoy his holiday and come back stronger next year."