Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen didn’t know the track limit rules he broke at the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix, that nearly resulted in him earning a penalty at the end of the race.
Verstappen dominated the race after seeing off Carlos Sainz at the first corner, and pitted for soft tyres at the end of the race to chase the fastest lap point. However, he was shown the black-and-white warning flag for too many track limits and faced a five-second penalty if he crossed the line one more time.
“He broke track limits I think in Turn 5 on two laps, and then he did it again on [Turn] 10. He was very surprised,” Horner told select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com.
“At 10, I think he didn’t realise there was a limit there. So his engineer was just informing him of one more strike and it’s a penalty and not to take any risks.”
At the time Verstappen was 18 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton, so a five-second penalty wouldn’t have changed the result. He managed the fastest lap to underline his dominance over the weekend, but it was still a rare error in an otherwise perfect race from the Dutchman
He extended his championship lead over Sergio Perez to 53 points, who exited qualifying in Q2 and couldn’t fight back to the podium, finishing behind George Russell.
“But you know, Max was totally in control,” Horner added. “He was aware of the risk and was able to do the fastest lap quite comfortably.”
Horner eyeing Red Bull’s 100th victory in Montreal
With Red Bull and Verstappen looking so strong, and Perez showing himself capable of winning races, there’s been talk that Red Bull could win every race of the 2023 world championship.
However, their team boss refused to be drawn into making any bold predictions.
“Anything can happen,” Horner added. “Both the championships are looking really healthy at the moment, our focus is on now Montreal, that’ll be trying to get our 100th victory.
“After that, it’ll be the home race in Austria, after that it’ll be the other home race in Silverstone. And it just rolls on and you go from event to event and don’t allow yourself to be thinking too far down the line.”
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
With the F1 circus finished in Spain, the next race is the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix which will be held at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal over the weekend of June 16-18.