Horner: Canada could prove a turning point for Verstappen

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal with Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing.
© XPB 

Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner believes that the Canadian Grand Prix could signal a big change in fortune for Max Verstappen.

The Dutch driver had been plagued by misfortune and several accidents in the opening Grand Prix events of 2018. He collided with his team mate in Baku, and missed qualifying in Monaco after crashing in practice.

Horner had been unusually critical of Verstappen after the Monaco incident. But he felt the driver had been rehabilitated by the race in Montreal, and was full of praise of his driver.

“He did a super job,” Horner told the official Formula 1 website. “He’s such an exciting talent."

Horner said he was hoping that this marked a turning point in Verstappen's career, and a new level of maturity that will be sustained into future events.

"Hopefully his luck is about to change. This was a fantastic performance from him all weekend."

It hadn't started off well, with Verstappen's widely-reported remarks about "head butting" the next person who asked him if he was going to change his driving style in future.

And Horner had some sympathy with that, adding that he wasn't out to force Verstappen to conform to some generic idea of a racing driver.

“You don’t want to defuse that, it’s part of what makes him so exciting," Horner explained, pointing to the way that Verstappen battled wheel-to-wheel with Valtteri Bottas at the start of the Canadian race.

“He had a clean weekend this weekend. I’m sure it’ll give him a bunch of confidence heading into the next batch of races.”

The more level-headed demeanour has been partly ascribed to the team's decision to ask Verstappen to forego his usual entourage of family and friends in favour of a "deep immersion" approach.

But Horner said that it had been a one-off trial and not the pattern for races to come.

“No, we just wanted to try it this weekend," the team principal confirmed.

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