Horner believes Hamilton has never praised Verstappen's talents
‘I’ve never heard Lewis Hamilton recognise Max Verstappen’s ability’: Red Bull chief Christian Horner believes the British star was left ‘rattled’ by his arch rival last year during their tense battle for the title
- Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton battled furiously for the F1 title in 2021
- Intensity of the rivalry increased greatly throughout the controversial season
- Christian Horner believes there is more respect to Max Verstappen this year
- Red Bull chief was referring to the Dutchman’s battles with Charles Leclerc
Christian Horner has claimed that he has never heard Lewis Hamilton praise the ability of his arch rival Max Verstappen.
The pair were involved in one of Formula One’s most tense and toxic battles for the world championship last season, one that saw the Dutchman snatch the title in controversial circumstances in the final race at Abu Dhabi.
While the title went in the Red Bull star’s favour due to infamous decisions under the safety car that handicapped Hamilton, the season had already seen a high amount of incidents that only stoked the tension between two of F1’s finest stars.
Christian Horner (left) believes Max Verstappen (right) has not been given credit for his racing talents by his arch rival Lewis Hamilton
The pair collided at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on the first lap putting Verstappen out the race, while another crash at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix led to both cars retiring.
Verstappen was then accused of brake-testing his rival late on in the season at Saudi Arabia, and there were numerous incidents of the duo pushing the limits while overtaking each other all season.
It marks a contrast to this campaign where Mercedes’ inability to challenge Red Bull has enabled Verstappen to stroll towards likely back-to-back titles.
Hamilton and Verstappen battled furiously for the world championship last season
But Mercedes and Hamilton have rarely been able to challenge Verstappen this term
Verstappen was challenged early on by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc but despite them also dueling hard on the track, Horner believes their years racing against each other in the past has helped build a healthy respect for each other’s talents.
‘You know, there’s a difference, there’s perhaps a different respect with Charles,’ Horner said on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
‘They raced each other since [being] kids, and there was a mutual respect. I’ve never once ever heard Lewis recognise Max’s ability.
‘And so of course, there was just a bit more needle to it and you could feel that, and you could sense that between those two drivers.’
Horner believes there is more racing respect between Charles Leclerc (left) and Verstappen
Horner also believes that a big part of last year’s championship battle was psychological and that it had affected the seven time world champion to a greater extent than Verstappen.
‘I think arguably, maybe more so in Lewis’ head,’ he added.
‘Because he’s the seven-time world champion that has everything to lose, Max is the young kid that’s taking the risks, that’s throwing everything at it, and got nothing to lose.
‘Some of his overtaking last year was stunning and you felt that started to rattle Lewis, I think.’
Hamilton was left ‘rattled’ by Verstappen last season according to the Red Bull chief
Verstappen and Hamilton battled on-track furiously including at the Italian Grand Prix where a collision at Monza put both cars out of the race
Horner then referred back to the infamous crash at Silverstone where Verstappen and Hamilton battled furiously for position on the first lap before Hamilton crashed into his rival, allowing him to win in front of his home fans while Verstappen spun off at high speed into a barrier that saw him taken to hospital.
‘We definitely saw after Lewis qualified on pole at Silverstone and Max won the sprint race you saw Lewis, he was a bit broken after the sprint race,’ he continued.
‘Had Max made it through Copse [corner], I don’t think they’d have seen him again that afternoon, so there was an air of desperation building in as well.
‘It was high stakes stuff and your emotions run high, but it probably affected Lewis arguably more than Max because, as I say, he’d got more to lose than Max. Max had everything to gain.’
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