Horner ranks Verstappen among greatest drivers in F1

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Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen will join the list of all-time greats if he secures his third consecutive Formula 1 world championship.

Verstappen, who currently leads the drivers’ championship by over 138 points from teammate Sergio Perez, could wrap the title up as early as Suzuka and has won 11 out of 13 races in 2023.

“What Max is achieving is quite phenomenal, and he is an exceptional talent,” Horner told selected media outlets, including Total-Motorsport.com ahead of the Italian GP.

“What he’s managed to do in the last few years has been quite remarkable, with the amount of records he’s breaking. If he defends his driver’s title this year, he [will] join some illustrious names.

“It’s always difficult to compare generations, but you have to start to include him in the bracket of some of the greatest this sport has ever seen.”

Zandvoort masterclass

At Zandvoort, Verstappen became only the third driver, along with Alberto Ascari and Sebastian Vettel, to have secured nine consecutive victories after just holding off Fernando Alonso in the final laps.

Unlike most of his races in 2023, Verstappen’s victory wasn’t straightforward, as he lost the lead in the opening stages in changeable conditions because of a late pit stop.

Once past Perez, Verstappen had to deal with increasingly poor weather conditions, which caused the race to be stopped before having to hold Alonso at bay in the final laps.

“The amount of pressure last week, again [from] the noise on the grid, the atmosphere, the demand from the crowd was insane,” said Horner. “It’s basically like being at a three-day techno party.

“The way he deals with that pressure when he’s got the royal family queuing up to wish him well just before you step in is hugely impressive.

“In the race, [with] the rain on the grid, and we pitted at the end of the second lap. That dropped [him] down the order, and [for] a lot of drivers, [it] would have got to [them] at that point.

“He kept his head, he kept calm, and then his pace from there was absolutely phenomenal. Again, another very impressive race, a masterclass from him.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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