Verstappen's F1 crown "more valuable" for beating in-form Hamilton

Max Verstappen's maiden Formula 1 championship has been made more valuable by the fact he had to beat an in-form Lewis Hamilton, reckons Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Verstappen's F1 crown "more valuable" for beating in-form Hamilton
Listen to this article

Verstappen benefited from a late safety car restart to overtake Hamilton for a victory that secured him the crown in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

And although the race ended in controversy, as Mercedes protested the result over its belief the FIA did not follow its own rule book in the timing of the safety car restart, Red Bull thinks the events should not overshadow the campaign.

With Verstappen having won 10 races in total this season, and having been the first driver in the turbo hybrid era to eclipse Mercedes, Horner reckoned that on balance the Dutch driver was a more than worthy winner.

And he thinks that the fact the title came through hard work and skill, rather than as the result of Hamilton and Mercedes being off form, was important.

"I think you have got to look at this championship on balance over 22 races," explained Horner.

"Max has been truly outstanding this year. I think that he got unlucky at times, but he always kept his head down.

"He's driven with heart, with passion, with great skill, and determination. And I think he's a really deserving, world champion.

"I think that the fact that he's managed to take on and beat Lewis, who obviously is a formidable and the most successful driver of all time, only makes it even more valuable.

"I think all credit to Lewis. This season he has driven again outstandingly well and I'm absolutely delighted with the result."

Christian Horner, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Erik Junius

Horner had told Sky in the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi race that his team needed a miracle for Verstappen to win the crown, with Hamilton looking comfortable in the lead.

But even he admitted he could not have expected events to turn out the way they did.

"I think I said we needed something from the racing gods, and they answered: so thank you to them," he said.

"Look, we're just incredibly proud of Max. You have to remember he's a young man that's living his dream. He's taken on the best in the world, the best statistically that there's ever been.

"He's fought tooth and nail every single grand prix, and he's been outstanding this year. For a 24-year-old to do what he's done, I think that's pretty impressive."

Horner admitted that the events on Sunday had left him experiencing a whole host of emotions, from seeing Verstappen make a poor start, to the frustration over a first lap call from F1 race director Michael Masi over Hamilton cutting across a corner, and then to the final safety car decision.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster," said Horner. "It started with a bad start and Lewis getting a great start, and they had a bit more pace than us today.

"They elected to do a one stop, and we went on to the two-stop. And then, when [Nicholas] Latifi crashed, we obviously elected to take another set of tyres.

Read Also:

"They got the race going again and Max had to make it count. He had one lap to do it and he nailed it.

"There was the elation of that moment and then obviously the [protest] summons started coming through for the safety car, and then another one for other stuff.

"So it was a tense couple of hours. But hats off to the FIA and the stewards who I believe have made the right decisions."

shares
comments

Related video

F1 drivers left confused by “made for TV” safety car unlapping call
Previous article

F1 drivers left confused by “made for TV” safety car unlapping call

Next article

Bottas makes Alfa Romeo F1 debut as post-season testing begins

Bottas makes Alfa Romeo F1 debut as post-season testing begins
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Prime

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Prime

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Prime

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? Luke Smith asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Prime

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Prime

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Prime

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 'holiday' races kept drivers busy through the winter Prime

When F1 'holiday' races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Prime

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week, and though it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted more just why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action.

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023