Christian Horner has suggested Max Verstappen has more respect for old karting rival Charles Leclerc than for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen and Hamilton fought for the 2021 F1 title in one of the most intense and exciting battles in the sport’s history. There were numerous controversial moments, including collisions at Silverstone, Monza and in Saudi Arabia prior to the infamous title decider in Abu Dhabi which controversially went the Dutchman’s way.
Verstappen has had it far easier in 2022 and could seal the championship at the next race in Singapore. His main rival has been Leclerc, but his and Ferrari’s challenge has faltered amid a combination of team blunders and driver errors.
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Verstappen has often talked about his respect for Leclerc and Ferrari but has been less complimentary about Hamilton and Mercedes. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has suggested Hamilton hasn’t shown his driver the admiration he deserves.
“The racing between him [Verstappen] and Charles… think about to Bahrain or Saudi or Miami, there was phenomenal racing between the two of them but not once did they touch each other,” Horner told F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast.
“There’s perhaps a different respect with Charles. They’ve raced each other since kids and there’s a mutual respect. I’ve never once heard Lewis recognise Max’s ability. So of course there was a bit more needle between those two drivers.”
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Horner did insist that Verstappen does respect Hamilton and his achievements in the sport.
“There’s always been a respect there,” he said. “You can’t not respect everything Lewis has done and achieved, it’s remarkable, probably never to be bettered.
“But everyone is beatable at some point. Max had a respect for Lewis but he wasn’t in awe of him. He wasn’t afraid of him and he relished going up against him. Ultimately, he believed he could beat him.”
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