Christian Horner has full praise for Max Verstappen and his ability to handle the F1 title pressure as he speaks on the happenings around the fight.
For Red Bull’s Verstappen, it is indeed a big title fight against Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton this year. It is also a battle of the future of the sport vs the veteran. And by no means, it is an easy task and both the drivers are certainly feeling the heat.
The year hasn’t gone easy as well where the two have had their collisions and differences, but thus far they have managed to keep a professional etiquette intact. Even verbally, they haven’t gone to the extent Horner and Toto Wolff have.
While Hamilton has the experience benefit, for Verstappen it is all new and thus far he has impressed most along with his boss Horner. “Make no mistake, fighting for your first F1 title is an intense moment in your racing career, but the maturity Max has shown throughout the campaign has been extremely impressive,” he wrote in his column.
“He’s relaxed and dealing with the pressure incredibly well, I think he is driving better than ever. A good example of this was during the race in Qatar, when he did not feel we could catch Lewis, but commented over the that radio he “wanted to have some fun”. Max is plain-speaking and he calls it how he sees it. He doesn’t work with a sports psychologist; it is just how he copes with it,” summed up Horner.
While the drivers are having a bit more calmer approach, at least on the media side, but their bosses Horner and Wolff haven’t had a similar run as noted above. Both have had their intense statements where the former has been making headlines the most.
But he reckons, he cannot live life as somebody else and in a situation like this where Red Bull is finally challenging Mercedes, they will push on with it. “Fighting for two world championships is exactly what we’ve worked hard for,” wrote Horner. “We’re going into the last few races and it’s extremely close.
“Max is just eight points ahead in the Drivers’ Championship and five points behind in the Constructors’, in previous years we’d have bitten your arm off to be in this position at this point in the championship. We want to be up at the top fighting for titles and while it has been an intense year, the pressure is something we put on ourselves.
“With the benefit of experience, we only worry about the things we can control, rather than the things we can’t, especially while the stakes are high. I have really enjoyed this championship and the fact we’ve been able to take the fight to Mercedes and Lewis, it’s been a phenomenal season to date.
“Some people thrive under pressure and some people shy away from it, but I’ve always felt I have performed at my best under pressure and that doesn’t feel any different to any other campaign. Off circuit there has been a bit more distraction, but when the green light comes on, everything else is insignificant.
“In F1, we are not saving lives, it is just a sport, so you have to keep some perspective on it. It’s an intense competition but there are other things that are important as well, so spending time with the family and going for a walk with the dogs, that’s how I unwind. People will always have their opinion on the sport and Team; however, you can’t live your life according to people’s views, you have to be comfortable with your own approach and run with it,” summed up Horner.
Here’s Mercedes, Red Bull on Jeddah F1 circuit
Here’s Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on title fight so far
Here’s Toto Wolff and Christian Horner on high stakes
Here’s Honda on Mercedes’ reliability issues
Here’s the whole F1 drivers’ briefing chat