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Horner: Verstappen the biggest threat to Hamilton

NEWS STORY
06/02/2019

Whatever one might think of some aspects of his approach to racing, there is no denying that almost from the get-go it was clear that Max Verstappen has balls and speed.

Though the red mist has sometimes caused him to fail, the main thing preventing him going head-to-head with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel on a regular basis over the last couple of seasons has been the lack of outright grunt from the engine in the back of his car.

Though it remains to be seen whether Honda can help the Dutch youngster in his efforts, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner insists he is the biggest threat to the Hamilton, who fears him above all others.

"If you look at his performance in the second half of the last year, he was the second highest points scorer to Lewis," Horner told reporters as preparations for the new season continue. "I don't think he lacks anything that they have, and if we can provide him the tools to do the job, he's probably the driver that they fear the most.

"His maturity has increased, we saw that during the course of last year," said Horner, though, other than the unnecessary clash with his teammate in Baku, many still question his actions in Brazil, not least the subsequent altercation with Esteban Ocon.

"He's just much more rounded through experience," the Briton continued. "He's just more worldly, more experienced, he's just in a better place to be able to deal with the pressures that are placed on him."

At a time Verstappen's great rival is preparing to battle for a sixth title, Horner suggested also that at some stage age will begin to take its toll on Hamilton.

"Lewis is at a different stage of his career, he has all that experience but he is 34," he said, "and at some point it is only natural that the brightness of that talent will start to fade. Can he have that speed all the time? It's just human. In 10 years, it will be the same for Max."

Asked about Verstappen's public service punishment for his actions in Brazil, which saw him forced to attend a Formula E race in order to observe the work of the stewards, Horner admitted that it was an enlightening experience for the youngster.

"It was interesting talking to him after the Formula E race. Not that he was particularly impressed by Formula E, but he came way from being with the stewards and said: 'Crikey, these guys have got difficult decisions to make in terms of do they impose a penalty or do they not.'"

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 07/02/2019 16:55

"The usual old cobblers from Mr H.
Yes Verstappen is fast, yes he is capable of stunning overtakes, but even in the same car (not actually the same car but you know what I mean) he's exceptionally unlikely to beat Hamilton over a season.

He needs to loose his feelings of 'entitlement', and realise that all those other guys have just as much right to compete as him. Then at least he might do brilliant overtakes none of which result in anybody (himself included) ending up back in the pits. He also needs to temper his aggression (I wouldn't call it 'passion') and control his temper, both of which impede the kind of rational, calculated driving at which Hamilton excelled last season.

It will be interesting to see if Honda can deliver next season, giving Max an opportunity to live up to the hype which Horner & his Dad have whipped up around him."

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2. Posted by F1nerd, 06/02/2019 17:41

"And I suppose Ferrari will just sit back and let this young pup take the glory. He He I don't think so as they have an up and coming super star alongside Vet this year. Plus of course Mercedes have got their very good "wing man" who wants to upset the apple cart. A lot depends on which team can produce the best car."

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3. Posted by NS Biker, 06/02/2019 17:10

"Need some help here .... how many Pole Positions has Max taken compared to Hamilton.?
To be fair, maybe limit Hamilton's numbers to just this past season.
I like Max (yes I am a fan) and I think he will be awesome down the road. But the "H" factor will be the BIG issue in 2019.
CH, let's not get carried away."

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4. Posted by Canuck, 06/02/2019 16:57

"Of course everyone fears him, they know if the try to pass him he will push them off the track."

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5. Posted by Rock Doc, 06/02/2019 13:30

"Give him a car that can consistently challenge Hamilton and then we will see.

It's a little early for predictions, but sadly I think that will not be the case for 2019.

I hope I'm wrong."

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6. Posted by GarH, 06/02/2019 13:01

"The 2019 War of Words has started. Horner is always the first to kick off, he'll be bigging up his team and drivers until the end of the season. I'm waiting for the first Honda kicking...
"

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7. Posted by Burton, 06/02/2019 12:57

""If we look at one half of the season"... right, Christian, that's how it works..."

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8. Posted by jackois, 06/02/2019 10:23

"only if he can control the red mist...."

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9. Posted by Ro, 06/02/2019 8:50

"and Hamilton thinks that Horner is Verstappens biggest threat......"

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