Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Verstappen raced as hard as ever in Austria – Horner

2018 Austrian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner didn’t see any sign Max Verstappen toned down his aggressive style to score his first win of the season in Austria.

The Red Bull driver had a troubled start to his 2018 campaign including a series of clashes with rivals. But Horner said his driver’s wheel-to-wheel fight with Kimi Raikkonen on the first lap of the race shows he hasn’t changed his approach to Formula 1.

“The margins in Formula 1 are so fine,” said Horner. “You saw today there was a touch at turn [three] with Kimi, a touch at turn seven. A few races ago that could have been a puncture and it’s a very different story.

“Max has had a tough first third of the year and all credit to him, he’s kept his head. In the last three races he’s been first, second and third with three very impressive drives.”

Verstappen described his contact with Raikkonen as “hard racing but good racing.”

“I think Kimi is experienced enough to handle the situation well,” he added. “We had a little touch but I think it’s also good for the sport.”

Verstappen’s incidents earlier in the year have left him at a disadvantage in the championship, Horner admitted. “We tend to be looking forward not backwards because when you look at the tables, you look at the ‘what ifs’, it could be an awful lot closer than it is. But there’s still 12 races to go.”

Horner also revealed Red Bull ran Verstappen’s engine in a more conservative mode following Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement.

“We were quite concerned that there might be a similar problem with Max so we turned his engine down to try and reduce temperatures,” he said. “And then we turned it up over the last five laps just to make sure the Ferraris weren’t going to get within the DRS.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Verstappen raced as hard as ever in Austria – Horner”

  1. “A few races ago that could have been a puncture and it’s a very different story.”

    He’s not going to blame his own guy for using a NASCAR short track move to make a pass, but every single race that kind of move could have been a puncture or a busted wing for Verstappen. He’s playing the odds and here he didn’t get snake eyes, but this kind of thing will still often end in tears.

    1. But…that’s good racing and it was a tussle between Max and Kimi. You could say what you have said of Kimi as well, if not in ‘reputation’ of late, at least for this race. He was fully off the track and coming fully back on with brazen behaviour himself, a couple of times. It was great. Wonder how they would have adjudicated that, had there been no tolerance for exceeding track limits by whatever measuring device or ruling.

      1. I agree that Raikkonen, going off track to keep his momentum, and then cutting straight back in and almost driving Verstappen off the road, was pretty dangerous driving. But it’s Verstappen who is dealing with the “keyboard warriors” right now, as he says.

        1. But it’s Verstappen who is dealing with the “keyboard warriors” right now, as he says.

          Of wich you are one?

  2. I’m really enjoyed reading the debates.

  3. I hope Verstappen never changes. I’m loving every bit of his ruthlessness at wheel to wheel racing. Mad Max takes no prisoners.

  4. Let’s be clear. Verstappen would not have won if he had listened to every single critic and held back. He would not have gone for the gap, and Kimi wins this race (or hands it to Vettel).

    1. Nah, in that case raikkonen would’ve won the race, perhaps, since it could be his last year in f1 I wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of him ignoring team orders at the risk of being fired (which automatically means losing the WCC for ferrari and probably even the WDC since he’s driving well this year) just to get a last win after 5,5 years of wait.

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