In one of the greatest battles of all time, seven-time champion Hamilton and young Dutchman Verstappen are heading for the final Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi on points level.
The rivalry has been intense, with crashes between the two occurring at the Grands Prix of Great Britain and Italy.
And that competitive nature between the two camps surfaced again last weekend during a dramatic race in Saudi Arabia.
In a race that featured two red flags, multiple crashes and five non-finishers, Hamilton and Verstappen traded the lead several times, with the Briton ultimately winning the lead.
But not before the two collided on lap 37.
Verstappen slowed down to let Hamilton pass after being ordered to give up the seat, but the Mercedes driver was confused and ended up crashing into the Dutchman’s back.
Hamilton insisted Verstappen had ‘tested him on the brakes’, while Verstappen argued he was just trying to let the Briton pass.
All of these incidents have escalated throughout the season and Ecclestone believes Hamilton and Mercedes are playing a game to intimidate his title rival.
Speaking to AFP, the ex-F1 chief said: “Max is a kid compared to Lewis and the worst part is Lewis has a massive ad campaign working for him.
“They pushed on Max all the time and then the race directors watched because Toto is going to see the race director.
“Max has more than a race to face because he also has them on his back because they intimidate him and don’t play fair. It’s a psychological game.
“Max had a few years of racing but didn’t have years on the streets like Lewis.
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“It forged character and knowing that he would win the race with Mercedes being the dominant force over the last few years made him a much stronger character than Max.
“For Max, this season is the first that he has had a car capable of winning on a regular basis, whereas before it was not competitive. “
With the pair level on points but Verstappen having one more win than Hamilton, the Briton just needs to improve on his world title rival in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
If the duo both collapse, Verstappen will be crowned world champion.
Mercedes has not lost a drivers’ championship since Sebastian Vettel on the last of his four successive titles with Red Bull in 2013.