Horner hails 'evolving' Verstappen as Red Bull star threatens to run away with F1 title

By Sports Desk July 27, 2022

Max Verstappen is still "evolving", according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, as the Dutchman continues his march towards successive Formula One world championships.

After winning the French Grand Prix for a second year in a row, Verstappen holds a 63-point lead over Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the top of the drivers' standings.

Another title for the reigning champion looks inevitable after he posted six victories in his last nine races, and Verstappen's 2021 rival Lewis Hamilton recently claimed it will be "smooth sailing" for the 24-year-old this year.

Speaking to Eurosport, Red Bull boss Horner hailed Verstappen's development as he suggested the Dutchman ranked among the best drivers to ever feature for the team.

"I think he's very much a mature package now," Horner said. "He's got experience behind him but he's still very, very young.

"He's hugely talented and is using his experience, using his head and his drive, his determination is undiminished. 

"So he's just evolving still as a person and as a driver.

"It's very difficult to compare drivers. We've had some amazing drivers but he is certainly right up [there]."

While Verstappen looks likely to cruise to the drivers' title, Red Bull also hold a commanding 82-point advantage over Ferrari in the battle for the constructors' championship.

Although Red Bull are clear favourites to end Mercedes' eight-year stranglehold on the team prize, Horner says he is simply taking it one race at a time.

"The target is to keep building on what we've achieved. There are no finite targets," he added. "It's just about race-by-race, season-by-season and giving him [Verstappen] a car that his talent warrants.

"I still get the same buzz driving into the track on race morning that I did, even when I was driving myself many years ago. It's the competition, going up against the best teams in the world. You need to be at the top of your game.

"It's a team sport, the biggest team sport in the world. If you're lucky enough to win a grand prix, it means every single person within that organisation is doing and fulfilling their part and role."

Verstappen and Red Bull will bid to extend their fine run of form at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

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    Sergio Perez has apologised following a second successive retirement at the Canada Grand Prix which left him 87 points behind Red Bull team-mate, Max Vertsappen.

    The 34-year-old remained fifth overall in the world championship and a point behind Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who was one of five drivers that failed to finish the race. 

    In difficult conditions in Montreal, the Mexican started 16th but hopes of climbing up the pecking order soon faded after damaging his car's front wing on the opening lap when he made contact with Alpine's Pierre Gasly.

    He then crashed into the barriers late in the day after losing control on a damp kerb at turn six, hobbling back to the pits with a broken rear wing. 

    "I'm very sorry for my team, I let them down today. But we will come back no doubt. There’s a very long way to go," Perez said on social media.

    His final incident cost him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Barcelona, with the stewards punishing him for a breach of the safety rules that require a driver to stop if the car is unsafe.

    "The incident was on me, I touched the wet part into turn six and I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t touch the brakes," Perez said on Sunday.

    "It has been a very tough couple of weekends, we will regroup, keep our heads down and learn from the weekend. We identified a couple of issues after qualifying and they meant we would have qualified a lot higher.

    "Hopefully we can be back to our form in Spain and get back to the level we were at earlier in the season. I am confident in that, there are good tracks coming for us."

    Perez recently signed a new two-year deal with Red Bull, ending speculation that the world champions will sign free agent Sainz ahead of the new season. 

  • We will be back says Perez following Canadian Grand Prix We will be back says Perez following Canadian Grand Prix

    Sergio Perez has apologised following a second successive retirement at the Canada Grand Prix which left him 87 points behind Red Bull team-mate, Max Vertsappen.

    The 34-year-old remained fifth overall in the world championship and a point behind Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who was one of five drivers that failed to finish the race. 

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    He then crashed into the barriers late in the day after losing control on a damp kerb at turn six, hobbling back to the pits with a broken rear wing. 

    "I'm very sorry for my team, I let them down today. But we will come back no doubt. There’s a very long way to go," Perez said on social media.

    His final incident cost him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Barcelona, with the stewards punishing him for a breach of the safety rules that require a driver to stop if the car is unsafe.

    "The incident was on me, I touched the wet part into turn six and I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t touch the brakes," Perez said on Sunday.

    "It has been a very tough couple of weekends, we will regroup, keep our heads down and learn from the weekend. We identified a couple of issues after qualifying and they meant we would have qualified a lot higher.

    "Hopefully we can be back to our form in Spain and get back to the level we were at earlier in the season. I am confident in that, there are good tracks coming for us."

    Perez recently signed a new two-year deal with Red Bull, ending speculation that the world champions will sign free agent Sainz ahead of the new season. 

  • Canadian Grand Prix 'an opportunity missed', admits Russell Canadian Grand Prix 'an opportunity missed', admits Russell

    George Russell secured Mercedes their first podium of the Formula One season at the Canadian Grand Prix, but felt his third-place finish was a missed opportunity.

    The British driver was on pole for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2022 and led for the first 21 laps before being overtaken in quick succession by McLaren's Lando Norris and eventual winner, Max Verstappen. 

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    Red Bull's Verstappen claimed his sixth victory of the season, extending his championship lead over Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to 56 points after a weekend to forget for the Italian team. 

    Speaking after the race, Russell believed he had the pace to catch the Dutchman before his coming together with Piastri, but enjoyed being back at the front of the pecking order despite admitting to a few mistakes. 

    "It feels like a missed opportunity, to be honest," said Russell shortly after the conclusion of the race. "We were really quick at the beginning of the race on the inters, and then obviously Lando came through really fast.

    "Then we got back on to the slicks, made a couple of mistakes out there just pushing the limits and paid the price for it.

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