Horner on Verstappen and Hamilton’s ‘unique’ qualities

Christian Horner of Red Bull Racing has observed a vital skill that only a few top Formula One drivers, notably Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, possess.

Christian Horner says that Max Verstappen has a “unique” quality that only a few Formula One drivers have, including Lewis Hamilton.

The Red Bull team chief is pleased by the Dutchman’s ability to keep track of what is going on around him during a Grand Prix while maintaining a high level of speed.

This was a skill Horner identified in Verstappen at the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and it was also a skill he saw in Sebastian Vettel, the last driver to win a World Championship with Red Bull before Verstappen.

“I have no doubt [Verstappen is] the best we have seen on one of our cars, in terms of outright raw ability and commitment,” Horner told The Times.

“He’s the best driver we’ve seen. Sebastian was also incredibly good, but we gave him a better car.

“The stand-out moments for me come when you turn up somewhere like Jeddah. Nobody has seen the circuit before. Max goes out and is two and a half seconds clear of anybody else. It takes half an hour for anyone to get close to his time.

“He’s got a fundamental, natural ability which means he’s driving with less effort at the limit than other drivers. He’s not under stress himself. He can be driving flat out but still has the ability to process what is going on in the race, with the car, with his opponents.

“Very rarely do you see drivers with that. Lewis has that. Max has that. Sebastian, when he was winning those world championships, had that.”

Verstappen races “with his heart”

In addition, Horner believes Verstappen possesses a quality that he hasn’t seen in many other drivers.

“What Max also has, that I haven’t seen in many drivers other than when I was growing up watching Nigel Mansell, is a massive heart,” Horner explained.

“He drives with his heart. He gives it absolutely everything.”

In 2021, Verstappen had his most successful Formula One season to date, winning his first World Championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a lengthy title struggle with Hamilton.

Despite his recent success, Verstappen’s lifestyle has not changed, according to Horner.

“After a race he just wants to get back on his FIFA game with his mates,” the Team Principal said.

“He hasn’t become some kind of diva. Money has obviously become a factor in his life but he still has the same principles.”

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