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Horner: Verstappen currently the best driver in the world

  • Published on 09 Jul 2019 11:54
  • comments 15
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen is currently the best driver in the world following his consistent performances over the past year.

The Dutchman won the Austrian Grand Prix just under two weeks ago, recovering after a poor start to overtake Charles Leclerc in the final laps of the race for the lead. 

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As the season nears the mid-way point, Horner says that Verstappen is the best in the world when reflecting on his performances over the last 12 months.

"As the form driver, he is," Horner told Autosport when asked if he thinks Verstappen is currently better than Lewis Hamilton. "As the driver in the form of his life, arguably over the past 12 months, he's been the best driver in the world.

"How do I substantiate that? He's not in the best car. But when you look at the results he's got out of that car since Montreal last year, some of the performances he's put in, he's made virtually zero mistakes in that period.

"It's only natural that there's always the next generation coming. Lewis has got the benefit of experience, he's still extremely quick, he's in the best car, in a very well-oiled machine.

"Max is very much the coming man. Wouldn't it be fantastic for the sport to see those guys go head-to-head?"

Verstappen has stepped out of Ricciardo's shadow

Horner also believes that Verstappen has changed following the departure of Daniel Ricciardo from the team, as he switched to Renault.

Verstappen has taken on the senior driver role at Red Bull, as he has the experience over Pierre Gasly, despite being almost two years younger.

"Daniel is such a big character, with a big sense of humour," said Horner. "And Max always outside of the car came a little bit within Daniel's shadow and was the jokey younger brother.

"Since Daniel has left, Max has assumed the role of the senior driver within the team and the responsibility that goes with that.

"There's a different level of maturity, of direction and sense of purpose with him. That has really rounded the package with him."


Replies (15)

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  • JuJuHound

    Posts: 93

    Once for couple years there is NEW driver coming who is making the DIFFERENCE.
    It was Senna, Schumacher and now Max. They all started in midfield cars and surprised the world.
    Lewis jumped into top car from beginning and he almost won the championship. But he never drove midfield car to show the DIFFERENCE as other mentioned trio.
    About Max... it is a matter of time he win championship. The question is will there be any other driver who will stop him. Schumacher had Hakkinen for a while, Senna had Prost. Who can stop Max? I hope someone will.

    • + 2
    • Jul 9 2019 - 12:36
    • we should enjoy these times, when he's not dominating

      • + 0
      • Jul 9 2019 - 12:42
  • f1ski

    Posts: 438

    I would not say that Ricciardo departure has helped Max. I think that developing self confidence has been the difference and perhaps that not having Ricciardo has helped Max not continuously compare himself to his teammatehas helped. He is the most dominant driver in a while and he passes without having to always move people out of the way like Hamilton did.

    • + 0
    • Jul 9 2019 - 14:40
  • I wouldn't go that far, but I, liked that Horner said it. The mind games... Also, I feel like Lewis is a bit too comfortable. Seb is pretty much done. Leclerc is not quite on top level and when he is Ferrari manage to ruin the race for him. Bottas is just... A fast #2 driver. Max is definitely the up-and-coming man. Even if it's not for a championship. Furthermore, I feel like Max actually respects Lewis quite a bit. Their battles, although few, always seem a bit tidier than Max vs. Anyone else

    • + 0
    • Jul 9 2019 - 16:13
    • Kean

      Posts: 544

      I am inclined to agree that currently Max is the best driver, he's certainly the most exciting on track. But in comparison to Ham, it's easy to say that Max is better since Ham is in superior material. What Ham did when he entered the sport, taking on Alonso the way he did was amazing. Could Max have done the same? Impossible to answer, but I'm leaning toward No, given how he's fared against his teammates and who those teammates have been up until now. I honestly don't feel like Seb is done, I think he's unhappy at Ferrari. He dreamed of Ferrari and being like Schumacher, and now that he's there it's likely a "never meet your hero" type situation. I bet he'd fare better at Mercedes or back at RBR. Leclerc is only in his second year, and thrust into the Ferrari shark tank, I will forgive any errors this season from him. Bottas I feel is a really fast driver over one lap, he lacks aggression in the race. When it comes to race craft I think RIc is high up there. I was also quite excited about Ocon, the guy is super fast but lacking in maturity and top level race craft, but those things will come with time. For the same reason I'm excited about Norris, and then by default Russel. In the years to come, post 2020, I'm hoping for closer racing between Ver, Lec, Oco, Nor and Rus.

      • + 0
      • Jul 9 2019 - 17:05
    • @kean You know there is a bit of a rumor brewing of RBR trying to lure Seb back. That would be interesting to watch. But I think it would never happen. First because I don't think RBR pay crazy money for drivers like Ferrari does, and second, why would Seb go against a driver that could further diminish his legacy?

      • + 0
      • Jul 9 2019 - 18:59
    • Kean

      Posts: 544

      I’ve read those rumors and it would surprise me if Seb was paired with Ver or Ham for that matter. However, it would not surprise me to see some kind of swap, but then Ver is not on Ferrari’s wishlist apparently. I don’t think it would bother Seb to take a pay cut though

      • + 0
      • Jul 9 2019 - 19:29
  • I'd certainly say he is top 5, maybe top 3. It's hard to compare him vs Hammy since they drive cars with kinda different traits, yet I personally think Hammy would've been beaten more often than not had they been team mates. I would however agree with AJPP that I feel Max races more neatly against Hammy compared to most other drivers, and I'd also add that Hammy too races more neatly against Max. Could be them playing nice considering the threat of mutual destruction, mind.

    • + 0
    • Jul 9 2019 - 17:52
    • Calle I've never asked you, who do you rank in the Top 3-5, in no particular order

      • + 0
      • Jul 9 2019 - 19:01
    • That is a pretty hard question really, especially considering the bias that is the various cars, but My top 5 probably consist of Max, Vettel and Hammy at least, probably Leclerc too considering how he has done. In no particular order, as you say. Kinda obvious choices. The last one is a bit trickier, but I'm leaning towards Perez, he is just such a consistent driver that has managed to outpace almost every team mate so far. Ricciardo is another prospect, but it has been more even between him and the Hulk than some thought, and Perez beat the Hulk pretty convincingly. What about you?

      • + 0
      • Jul 9 2019 - 19:33
    • @Calle, can't really agree on your top 5. HAM and VER for sure, VET is done. He is quick at one lap and when he is in front. LEC is a rising star, like NORRIS. I think that SAINZ and RIC are better drivers than VET and complete the top 5.

      • + 0
      • Jul 10 2019 - 11:18
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,136

      The issue is that we don't really know who are the best drivers. However the best drivers gravitate to the best cars. So looking in teams that are not in the top 3 should be done with care.

      my Top 5: Ham/Ver, Vettel/Bottas/Leclerc sixth place is the interesting one. I believe that Norris is currently better than Gasly. However he's just joined F1 so he needs a bit more time.

      That second seat in RBH should really be held by Ric but he jumped ship fearing many retirements and joined Renault for .... (cross out what you want) .. money/performance/did not want to get beaten by Verstappen

      • + 0
      • Jul 17 2019 - 16:44
  • emprisedll

    Posts: 18

    translation
    Please don't leave us Max lol

    • + 1
    • Jul 9 2019 - 20:59
    • JuJuHound

      Posts: 93

      Max: please pay me more than Lewis gets

      • + 0
      • Jul 10 2019 - 13:16
  • Dert38

    Posts: 57

    Leclerc > Verstappen > Hamilton > Wolff > Horner . Obviously.

    • + 0
    • Jul 10 2019 - 10:50

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