Christian Horner has drawn similarities between four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen after the latter claimed his second grand prix victory in Malaysia on Sunday in confident fashion.

Verstappen seized the lead of the race from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on Lap 4 at Sepang before dominating proceedings, eventually finishing 12 seconds clear of the pack to record his first win of the year.

The result ended a tough run for Verstappen that has seen him not finish on the podium since the second race of the season in China, retiring six times since then.

"It is really satisfying with Max, who was last on the podium at the beginning of April in race two. He has endured so much bad luck this year," Horner said.

"He’s kept his head down. The race he drove today was truly dominant, and the pass he made on Lewis early on was a key moment. From that moment he controlled the race exceptionally to the finish."

Horner compared Verstappen's strength under pressure to that of Vettel, who won four world titles with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013.

"Max is a very different character to Sebastian but what you see in standout drivers, you see similarities," Horner said.

"Where Sebastian was very strong under big pressure moments, Max has that ability too. He was so cool today leading the grand prix. He was the coolest guy out there.

"You see under pressure he is really delivering at a massive level, and this year his performances, particularly on a Saturday, have been massively impressive.

"We know that Daniel [Ricciardo] is one of the best, so to have the two of them pushing each other the way that they are is a dream situation for the team."

Horner took heart from the result looking ahead to the final five races of the year, having been well off the pace compared to rivals Mercedes and Ferrari at the start of the season.

"We have five more opportunities this year, so our focus is now on Japan. We take one race at a time, and then consolidate over the winter," Horner said.

"But it is always important to finish the season on a positive momentum. And that is certainly what we have done.

"When you look at where the car was in Melbourne to where it is today, it is not against weak opponents that we have managed to develop this to a race winning car."

 

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