Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner says he has been impressed with Max Verstappen's ability to cope 'under pressure' since joining the team, commenting his race performances have been matching Daniel Ricciardo's.
The youngster notched up his second podium of the season in the Austrian Grand Prix, Verstappen making a risky one-stop tyre strategy work to play himself into top three contention before clinging onto second place under threat from a charging Kimi Raikkonen.
Indeed, Verstappen – who only started eighth - led the Spielberg race briefly as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton pitted for fresh rubber in the closing stages and defended hard despite it being an ultimately futile effort.
Coming after similarly astute 'tyre management' performances in Canada and Azerbaijan, Horner says he is pleased with the way Verstappen has been handling his race performances, but admits he needs to get up to speed over a single lap.
“He's been racing in the past two or three races very strongly and very good on the tyre. He is under pressure as well but it doesn't faze him.
“He has got a bit of work to do on the quali-side which Daniel is right at the top of his game but it is great to have two drivers so evenly matched and pushing each other. I think it will come with experience.”
Meanwhile, Horner says Red Bull has now turned attention to the 2017 season and the incoming regulations, but says upgrades for Spa are still in the pipeline.
“I think the vast majority is already on next year's car but there are packages still to be introduced at Spa and Monza, the circuit-focused, plus lessons we can learn for next year.”