Christian Horner shrugs off latest words war between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton regarding their F1 teammates.
Just when things started to get smoother between Red Bull’s Verstappen and Mercedes’ Hamilton, a new minor words war was initiated by the Brit recently. It was down to the teammates that the Dutchman has had in his F1 career so far.
Hamilton seemingly compared himself with Verstappen in terms of how strong their teammates have been for them to fight for the world championship when it is only one team at the forefront. The Brit feels the Dutchman’s results have been blown up.
He is of the view that he has had much tougher teammates than Verstappen has. “We’ve seen it through history,” Hamilton said to TV media. “I’m no more impressed than when Michael was leading, when Sebastian was leading, when Kimi was driving, when Fernando was winning – same.
“I mean I think the team as a whole is one of the strongest – they’re [Red Bull] firing on all cylinders right now. The car is incredible, the driver’s doing an amazing job – very consistent, the pit crew are doing a great job, the mechanics are doing a good job, strategy’s doing a good job – it’s on point, you can’t fault them.
“It’s actually interesting because I was running one morning and I was thinking about this. The narrative, that goes through the media… you know when I qualified half a second, six tenths ahead of Valtteri, they didn’t say the same thing as they say today when Max qualifies six tenths ahead of Perez – it’s blown up much more.
“And in my personal opinion, Valtteri, and actually all my team-mates, have been stronger than the team-mates that Max has had. Jenson, Fernando, George, Valtteri… Nico – I’ve had so many. These guys have all been very consistent, and Max has not raced against anyone like that,” summed up Hamilton.
The response from Verstappen reflected on Hamilton’s jealousy. He thinks they are having a bit of a tough time losing after years of winning and the Brit’s words don’t make much of a difference to him. “Maybe he’s a little jealous of my current success,” he said to written media. “This kind of statement… he possibly thinks he’s winning something with that, but it makes no difference to me.
“I think Mercedes have a very hard time dealing with losing, after all these years of winning so much. At some point, you have to be realistic and then you have to be able to appreciate what other teams are doing. We did the same when they were dominant and we also said, ‘We have to work harder because we are not good enough’.”
“You can keep shouting and screaming that what we do is not that special… you just have to deal with yourself,” summed up Verstappen, as Hamilton’s boss Toto Wolff played down the statements as just ‘bit of fun’ between two F1 champions.
“First of all, it’s obvious that the drivers like to poke each other a bit,” he said. “But then you can say that Lewis has raced three World Champions. He raced Jenson, he raced Fernando and he raced Nico. But I don’t want to in any way diminish anybody’s performance because Max in the car is outstanding. So it’s just part of the fun.”
While Wolff played it slightly safe even though he did somewhat concurred about Hamilton having to face world champions. His rival and Red Bull chief Horner interestingly shrugged off the comments and instead focussed on praising the efforts of Verstappen.
He feels there is no one who can beat the Dutchman in the car he is driving. “Look, I don’t want to get drawn into commenting on that. I think that Max, what he’s doing is breaking records,” said Horner. “He’s driving at an unbelievable level. And I don’t think there’s anybody in the world right now that could beat Max Verstappen in this car, that’s for sure.
“I think you have to recognise and applaud what Max is doing at the moment, it’s very special to achieve what he’s achieved. I think that we shouldn’t detract from that in any way. In sport, very rarely things like this happen, and I think it’s a golden moment for him and certainly a golden moment for the team,” summed up Horner.
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