Christian Horner accuses Damon Hill of ‘obviously never being a fan’ of Max Verstappen
F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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Red Bull boss Christian Horner has accused Damon Hill of being biased against leader Max Verstappen, insisting the Brit has ‘never been a fan’ of the world championship leader. The 2021 F1 season has been one of the greatest years in the sport’s modern history thanks to the titanic world championship battle between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Verstappen.
Former world champion Hill is a pundit for Sky F1 and he discussed the controversial defending of the Dutchman against Hamilton at the Brazilian Grand Prix – with Horner aggressively defending his driver’s approach.
After he was awarded a five-place grid penalty for changing engines, Hamilton had one of his great drives to climb from P10 to win at Interlagos.
On lap 48 of the race, the two rivals were battling for the lead with Hamilton’s Mercedes appearing to narrowly edge ahead of the Red Bull, which was on the inside.
Verstappen ran wide and the move forced both drivers off the track, with the Dutchman holding the lead for a few more laps before the seven-time world champion finally took the lead.
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A ‘right of review’ request from Mercedes was subsequently denied and Verstappen went unpunished for the manoeuvre.
While Hill branded Hamilton’s drive ‘one of the best I’ve seen in F1’, he criticised the 24-year-old challenger for being ‘over the limit’ – and Horner has had enough of the impartiality.
“We’ve got a British driver going for a record-breaking World Championship,” Horner told The Telegraph. “And Damon obviously has never been a fan of Max…if you talk to the Dutch then Max can walk on water.
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“That’s just the way things are reported. And, you know, sometimes impartiality does get lost.”
The 1996 world champion and former Williams driver believes Horner has been ‘punchy’ throughout the intense 2021 season.
When asked why Hill does not like Verstappen, Horner said: “That’s something you’d have to ask Damon.
“But he’s not a big fan of Max from what I can see.
“It’s something that’s been noticeable over the last couple of years. But everybody has a right to an opinion.
“You know, it’s a free world. And, as I said to Damon, I’m the type of person that, if I don’t agree with your opinion, I’m not just going to roll over.
“If I think somebody is being an arse, I’ll tell them I think they’re being an arse.”
Hamilton is just eight points behind Verstappen in the championship standings ahead of the final two races which are believed to both favour the straight-line speed of Mercedes.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes still have an advantage by five points, despite Valtteri Bottas’ retirement in Qatar.
The two championships will therefore be decided in the final two races, with the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on December 5 followed by the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on December 12.
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