Horner: Verstappen has ‘nothing to lose’ in title fight against Hamilton

Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen has “nothing to lose” in the Formula 1 title fight this year, seeing no change in his approach despite the pressures involved.

Horner: Verstappen has ‘nothing to lose’ in title fight against Hamilton

Red Bull driver Verstappen is currently in his first F1 title battle, leading seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton by five points at the top of the drivers’ standings with eight races remaining this year.

Verstappen and Hamilton have collided twice this year while battling for position. Following a high-speed incident at Silverstone in July, both drivers retired at Monza two weeks ago after a clash at the first chicane.

The FIA stewards deemed Verstappen to be predominantly to blame for the collision, hitting him with a three-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton said on Thursday in Russia that he thought the pressure of the title fight could be mounting on Verstappen, reflecting on his own struggles during his maiden championship bid in 2007.

It was a claim Verstappen rejected, saying it showed that Hamilton “doesn’t know me”.

Red Bull F1 boss Horner was in agreement with Verstappen, saying he hadn’t seen any changes in the Dutchman under the pressure of an F1 title battle.

"I don’t see any change in him at all,” Horner said.

“He’s a young guy, he’s going for it, he’s got nothing to lose. He’s not sitting there with a bunch of world championships defending the title, he’s the challenger.

“That’s the way he’s attacking this championship, and when you see the pressure he was under with a home crowd in Zandvoort, you don’t get bigger pressure than that. I think the way he handled that in particular was truly impressive.

“He’s just really enjoying and relishing this battle. It’s been a long, long time since we’ve been in a position like this. That’s exciting for him, and it’s exciting and motivating for the whole team.”

Verstappen and Hamilton have gone wheel-to-wheel on a number of occasions this year, including on the opening lap at Monza when Hamilton backed out of an overtake at the Roggia chicane, avoiding an incident.

Asked if he thought Verstappen needed to back out of moves more, Horner said that all incidents were reviewed “very carefully” by the team and that Verstappen was “extremely self-critical”.

“He’s a hard racer, it’s part of his characteristic, it’s part of why he has the following that he does,” Horner said.

“You know that when he’s in the car, he’s going to give 110%. And I think that also has the impact on the driver that he’s racing, because they just know he’s going to go for it.

“But of course, there has to be measure. I think that at the right times, he has shown that measure. I think in different races even that we’ve seen this year.

“It’s part of the character that he is that he’s an attacking driver. It’s part of his make up. And I don’t think that’s going to change.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff called Verstappen’s move on Hamilton a “tactical foul” in the immediate aftermath of the race at Monza, but said on Friday in Russia that “harsh moments” were inevitable in the title fight.

Asked if he thought there would be more collisions moving forward, Wolff said: “I think they pretty much know what they do.

“If they both wanted to avoid collisions, we would have less collisions. If they don’t avoid collisions, because they feel it’s right to not bail out or not give room, then we will have more.

“We are not sitting in the cars.”

shares
comments

Related video

Russian GP facing Saturday rain disruption; F3 race rescheduled
Previous article

Russian GP facing Saturday rain disruption; F3 race rescheduled

Next article

Russian GP practice as it happened

Russian GP practice as it happened
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021