Horner: Verstappen would have won even if Hamilton held lead at start

Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen had the pace to win the Hungarian Grand Prix even if Lewis Hamilton had held his lead at the start. 
Horner: Verstappen would have won even if Hamilton held lead at start

Verstappen made a better start to draw alongside polesitter Hamilton and claim the inside line on the run to Turn 1, before muscling his way into a lead he never relinquished at the Hungaroring. 

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Any hope Hamilton might have had of a first victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was dashed when he lost a further two places to the fast-starting McLaren duo through the first few corners. 

But Horner is confident that Verstappen had enough pace to win even if Hamilton had retained the lead during the opening laps. 

“I think with the pace that we had today in the car, that was absolutely possible,” Horner replied to a question from Crash.net

“If you look at the progress that Checo made from ninth on the grid, which again was an outstanding drive from him again, I think it wasn’t all just about the start. 

“Today we had a phenomenal race car and were able to convert that into a dominant 1-3.”

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium…

Despite missing out on pole, Verstappen ultimately cruised to a seventh straight victory as he set an all-time F1 record of 12 successive wins for his Red Bull team.

"I think the consensus was that we had put more focus into the higher temperatures of today and the race pace, as oppose to single lap pace,” Horner explained. 

“And while Max was frustrated to not get the pole yesterday, he went into this race fully fired up. 

“A starting grid that has Lewis and Max starting alongside each other, I think it’s always one as a team principal where you are thinking I just hope I see the car out of the first turn. 

“But both of the drivers raced very hard but fair. Max got a very good start off the dirty side of the grid and it was old-school down to the first turn. 

“Once he emerged out of the first turn he really stamped his authority all over the race and really controlled the race from start to finish.” 

Speaking about his start, Verstappen said: "I think as soon as I released the clutch, I immediately felt like I had good bite, no wheelspin like at Silverstone. 

“Good run, I knew of course I had the inside, so I knew that was going to be my corner in Turn 1. We braked quite late, but then just did my thing through Turn 2 as well, and from there onwards, I could just build up the pace slowly.”

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