Christian Horner: Max Verstappen ‘making a key difference’ for Red Bull

Christian Horner has heaped praise on Max Verstappen's contribution to Red Bull's recent F1 success.

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme…

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has lauded Max Verstappen for “making a key difference” for Red Bull in recent F1 races.

Verstappen held off McLaren’s Lando Norris to make it back-to-back wins in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix and further increase his lead at the top of the F1 world championship.

It marked the reigning world champion’s seventh victory in 10 races, but Red Bull have come under increasing pressure from rivals McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes in recent events.

“I think today there was a few decisive moments,” Horner said. “Obviously we lost the pole by two hundredths yesterday, we knew it’d be very tight with Lando.

“The start was crucial, we took the start on scrubbed rather than the new tyre because we wanted to have the new tyre as we thought we might need it for the undercut later.

“Max had a good start, got alongside Lando, some fairly robust racing where he’s on the grass going to turn 1 which allowed George to pick his braking point and go around the outside. Then it was a race that was always going to be dominated around tyre wear, being quick to pass George was crucial.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20. Formula 1 World Championship,…

“He pushed hard on that first lap or two to get the pass on George, as soon as the DRS opened, then immediately got into managing tyres and was able to build out a gap reasonably comfortably in that first stint, at that point we decided to go for an optimum race in terms of strategy in our stop laps, McLaren obviously extended, so they had an offset.

"So you look at the gap and think nine seconds is pretty decent but you know that the tyre offset. Six laps on mediums and three or four on the soft, those gaps come back at you pretty quickly.

“So today was about not making any mistakes, Max drove a perfect race, with well executed pit stops. So it’s all those small details that we knew Lando would come back towards us at the end of the race, but we thought we’d have enough in hand, and that’s the way it played out.”

Horner went on to underline just how crucial Verstappen’s remarkably consistent performances have been at a time when Red Bull have not always had the outright fastest car.

“He’s always been fantastic under pressure, last year was a unicorn year and now it’s more normal year,” Horner added.

“It’s not normal to win all the races all the time and we’re having to fight very very hard for them, and Max is making a key difference.

“We know where we need to improve, we’re getting a better understanding of where our strengths and weaknesses are, and we’re doing enough at the moment to keep growing that championship lead.” 

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