Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff compared Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner to a man driving the wrong way down an autobahn as both bosses braced for Formula One's title decider in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Horner on Friday framed the battle between his Dutch driver Max Verstappen and Wolff's seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton as pitting a 'young lad' against a "Mercedes media machine" that depicted him as 'Mad Max'.
Wolff, an Austrian, said he was reminded of a joke about the caller who rang a radio station after an alert warned of someone driving down the autobahn against the traffic.
"One? There's hundreds of them," said the caller.
"So I think it's the media machine or its everybody who commented on the driving and was pretty much of the same opinion," said Wolff.
Verstappen, level on points with Hamilton but ahead 9-8 on race wins, goes into the final race of the season on pole position.
There have been concerns in the build-up that the title could be decided by a collision between the two contenders, who have come together three times already this season.
Mercedes are not alone in questioning Verstappen's aggressive approach.