Red Bull would never consider swapping Max Verstappen for Lewis Hamilton as it sees the former as the future of Formula 1, according to Christian Horner. 

Since graduating to Red Bull in 2016, Verstappen has already racked up five grand prix victories and has been tipped to challenge five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ current dominance of the sport following the team’s switch to Honda engines. 

Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with The Daily Mail, Horner revealed that Red Bull passed up the opportunity to sign Hamilton back in 2012 before ultimately sealing a move to Mercedes. 

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Asked if he would trade Verstappen for Hamilton, Horner said: “No - Max is the future. 

“He is 21 years of age and he is evolving. Both he and Lewis are phenomenal drivers. Lewis is one of the best of all time. Max has won grands prix but is yet to compete for a championship.

“However in terms of all-round ability, race craft and speed, Max is capable of going shoulder to shoulder with Lewis.”

Horner, who previously claimed Verstappen is the driver he believes Hamilton fears the most out of the current F1 grid, reckons it is good for the sport to have such characters. 

“Max was top scorer behind Hamilton in the second half of last season, so that shows how well he was driving,” he said. 

“Max was criticised in some quarters when he showed emotion after the race with Ocon. At least there was passion. People relate to that kind of emotion.

“That is why he has such a big following. We don't want vanilla characters. Lewis is a Marmite kind of guy. That is good.

“It goes to the heart of what Formula 1 must look to be post-2020, when the new regulations come in. 

“The drivers must be the stars of the show. They must get out of the cars exhausted. Technology plays too big a role at this moment in time.” 

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