Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has said that Max Verstappen is getting even better with maturity as the recently-crowned two-time champion rallied from a disastrous pitstop to win the US GP.
Verstappen looked in full control of the race in Austin after leapfrogging Carlos Sainz off the line, but his race looked to have unravelled when a long delay at his second pitstop due to an issue with on of the wheel guns caused him to drop down to third.
That left Verstappen needing to overtake Charles Leclerc and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton for the win, and after a pair of back and forth duels with both drivers, the Dutchman ultimately emerged victorious on the day Red Bull sealed the 2022 constructors’ championship.
However, the driver made clear his annoyance on the radio after the error, saying “beautiful, f***ing beautiful,” but Horner said that despite the outburst, Verstappen had shown the strength of character to recover and go on to win the race.
“I think it’s all of it. I think there’s a hunger within him that I’ve never seen within another driver. And I think that there’s a determination and, as he’s growing and he’s maturing, he’s reading races incredibly well,” Horner said.
“He was obviously pretty upset after the pitstop, but very quickly got his emotions in check, and just got his head down and paced himself so that he didn’t burn his tires up, and then was able to get the pass done.”
“I think this means everything to us. I mean, it’s been such a journey. And Dietrich was a very private man. But he was passionate about life. He was passionate about sports. He was especially passionate about Formula 1,” Horner said.
“He had a dream, which was to have a Formula 1 team. And he did that in the end, he gave us all an opportunity, he believed in us, he backed us.
“This is for him. We’re just tremendously grateful for everything that he’s done. For us as individuals, as a team. We’re going to celebrate in his honour tonight.”