Red Bull boss Christian Horner claims that Max Verstappen’s driving has changed since his title fight with Lewis Hamilton last year, saying that the reigning F1 Champion has become even more mature.
Verstappen has been in great form this season and currently has a 46-point lead over his teammate Sergio Perez. His title rival from last year, Hamilton, is currently in the sixth spot with 77 points.
Talking about the 24-year-old’s racing this season on the F1 Nation Podcast, Horner said that the Red Bull driver did a fantastic job last season and has built on his experience from his previous campaign. He also said that Verstappen is driving with even more maturity in the current season.
“[Verstappen] did a hell of a job last year.”
“Think back to some of the races that he drove under immense pressure. Austin stands out to me as one of the races towards the end of the campaign. But again, the racing this year has been excellent, and the cars can follow a bit closer. We’ve seen that across these eight races or nine races so far.”
“So yeah, he’s definitely built on his experience from last year, and you can see that having won that World Championship, he’s just driving with even more maturity,” said Horner.
Many F1 pundits have noticed the change in Verstappen’s driving style this season. Indian racer Karun Chandok commented that the 24-year-old sees his current rival, Charles Leclerc, as an equal and not as someone he had to dethrone.
“You know, Lewis was the incumbent, the king of the castle, and Max had to come along, or felt he had to come along, to basically dethrone him and got his elbows out a bit more. Whereas with Leclerc, they’ve grown up as peers, and I feel like Max doesn’t feel like he has to necessarily, you know, knock him off that pedestal effectively.”
“He sees Leclerc as an equal as someone he’s raced with since they were kids and therefore, there’s less ‘elbows out’ in the way they go racing with each other and it’s cleaner. They give each other more space and maybe some of it is maturity and having that World Championship, but I do think there is a shift in the mindset for sure,” said Chandok.