Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has taken a dig at Lewis Hamilton by claiming Max Verstappen in a better driver – and he thinks George Russell as helped to prove his theory right.
Hamilton has beaten Verstappen to the world title over the last few years but Horner reckons that success is partly down to the dominance of Mercedes’ car.
Verstappen has not been handed the tools capable of launching a sustained challenge in the Drivers’ Championship.
Hamilton was forced to sit out of the Sakhir Grand Prix last season when he contracted coronavirus.
Williams star Russell, who had never scored a single point in F1, almost won the race when he deputised for the absent Hamilton.
Only a horrendous pit stop and late puncture denied the 22-year-old a dream victory, having led for the majority of the race.
And Horner reckons Russell’s performance proves that Verstappen is better than seven-time world champion Hamilton.
“I think he is the best, yes,” Horner told RacingNews365. “Russell’s performance at Mercedes confirmed that for me.
“Max and Lewis stand out for me, but while we absolutely should not be blind to all that Hamilton has achieved, he does have access to a good package while Max has to get more and more out of his car.
“You can see that by the fact that a driver from Williams qualified directly on the front row of the grid and almost won the race.
“If someone had to get into Max’s car, if he had coronavirus, they would never reach his level of performance.”
Verstappen has been Mercedes’ closest challengers since Ferrari have seen a dramatic fall from grace.
And Horner thinks the Dutchman still has his best years ahead of him.
When asked if Verstappen has reached his peak, Horner said: “No, I don’t think so.
“It’s very difficult for he other drivers given Max’s performance. If you look at his performance in Abu Dhabi, his pole was phenomenal.
“Max controlled the race and put in a mature performance from start to finish.”
Published at Fri, 22 Jan 2021 08:04:00 +0000