Verstappen not reponsible for Rosberg's title hopes, says Horner


Red Bull boss Christian Horner thinks Niki Lauda was wrong to criticise Max Verstappen for being too aggressive against championship leader Nico Rosberg in the Mexican Grand Prix.

Verstappen found himself on the receiving end of an attack from Mercedes chief Niki Lauda, who said the way he had raced hard against Rosberg was 'unacceptable' considering the world title is at stake.

"Nico clearly was in front and Verstappen rams him off the track," said Lauda. "This could have cost Nico the championship. This is not acceptable. It's Verstappen's fault. He drives too aggressively. At some point he has to realise it."

But Horner does not agree with Lauda, and says that Verstappen's job is not to drive in a way that helps the Mercedes drivers have an easy time.

When asked if he felt Verstappen had been too aggressive at either Turn 1 or in a Turn 4 battle later in the race, Horner said: "I don't think so. Nico's championship isn't Max's responsibility.

"He sees a gap and he goes for it. That is what makes him such an exciting driver. He saw a gap and went for it, and couldn't quite get the car stopped in time down at Turn 4.

"There was an opportunity with the backmarker that had created it, so he went for it."

Penalty wrong

Horner also reckoned that the FIA has wrong to have given a penalty to Verstappen for running across the grass at Turn 1 in the closing stages of the race.

"We didn't feel that Max had gained an advantage under braking for Turn 1," explained Horner. "He had locked up and gone straight on through the grass, and come out ahead of Sebastian.

"If Sebastian had been alongside him or making a passing move on him, then perhaps we would have understood more that penalty.

"It was no different to Lewis' issue at the beginning of the race, where he actually did come out further up the road. So we sought clarification from race control, and they said they wanted to have a further look at it and establish who was ahead.

"We left Verstappen in position without having a directive to let Sebastian go. In the meantime, Daniel, who had made a stop with 20-odd laps to go on the soft tyre, was catching Sebastian and we predicted him to catch with four laps to go. And obviously he did that."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Nico Rosberg , Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing , Mercedes
Article type Breaking news