Max is the man Hamilton fears the most, says Horner

Ross Houston
February 7, 2019

Hamilton claimed his fifth World Drivers' Championship in October by finishing fourth in the Mexico Grand Prix, a race won by none other than Verstappen and finished the season 88 points ahead of the runner-up, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

"Max, if you look at his performance in the second half of the [last] year, was the second highest points scorer to Lewis", Horner was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"I don't think he lacks anything that they have".

Verstappen was the sport's youngest driver when he debuted with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso as a 17-year-old and the youngest victor at 18 at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Ricciardo and his new team took to Twitter to give fans a peak at the former Red bull driver in the new uniform he'll be wearing for Renault in the 2019 Formula 1 season.

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

Verstappen hit the headlines after Brazil, when he was ordered to do two days' public service for shoving French driver Esteban Ocon after the collision.

"It was interesting talking to him after the Formula E race".

He added: "He came back and went, "Crikey, these guys have got hard decisions to make". We would rather see consistent evolution, and if that means taking a penalty or two along the way, as we saw a year ago the impact of those penalties at the right venue can be fairly minimal. "That was actually a useful exercise for him".

Verstappen and Red Bull-Honda aim to become consistent pace-setters this season and therefore genuine candidates for the title. Horner says the aim is to be competitive on a wider range of tracks this year, and he is happy with the progress Red Bull has seen from the Japanese manufacturer during the off-season.

"It could be longer than that, but I think it's a safe bet to say the next 12 months".

Hamilton is aiming for a sixth world championship this season to move just one short of Michael Schumacher's all-time record but Horner said it was inevitable that his ability would sooner or later begin to decline.

"Of course it depends on the strength of the competition, but on their own data, Honda has made some nice progress", Horner added.

The V6 turbo hybrid era brought about the eventual parting of ways, and Horner felt that for the past three seasons, Red Bull had "effectively been paying for a first-class ticket" yet they got "an economy seat" in return.

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