Horner: 'Mature' Verstappen gets the big picture


Christian Horner was dazzled by Max Verstappen's drive in Hungary but the Red Bull boss was even more impressed with how the Dutchman reacted to defeat.

Verstappen convincingly led the charge at the Hungaroring, but the Red Bull charger's consumed tyres and a bold strategy from Mercedes ultimately allowed Lewis Hamilton to prevail just four laps from the checkered flag.

Conceding a race so close to victory is a hard pill to swallow, yet Verstappen's reaction to the loss was but another indication of the 21-year-old's growing maturity contends Horner.

"I think he has driven with great maturity," Horner said.

"Even at the end of the race, to lose the race with four laps to go is hugely frustrating.

"But I think he gets the bigger picture, knew the situation we were in and understands how the race is being read because to the layman it may seem that Red Bull got their strategy wrong. We didn’t.

"Mercedes just had the quicker car and the ability of a free pit stop opened up to them.

"He had the maturity immediately to understand what that situation was, and I think he has really come of age this year."

Thanks to two wins in the last four races, Verstappen outscored all his rivals in the run-up to the summer break.

But Horner doesn't believe his driver is in with a realistic shot at the title. However, Verstappen's performances may provide the foundation on which he can build his 2020 championship hopes.


"I think Lewis is now over 70 points ahead, which is close to a three-race advantage with nine to go.

"So basically, Lewis would have to not turn up for three races, if his cough comes back or something or he gets athlete’s foot, it’s hugely unlikely.

"They would have to mess up by gargantuan proportions not to win this championship.

"But our target for the rest of the year is to close that gap at races like (Hungary) and hopefully some races will work out the other way around for us like they did last weekend.

"And as we get more performance on the car, Honda make progress, this is very much a building year as we get to 2020."

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