Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen is a “mature package” whose “determination is undiminished”.
Verstappen ended Mercedes’ run of championship success in Formula One’s turbo-hybrid era by winning his first title in 2021.
He is looking to defend his crown this season and carries a 63-point advantage over Charles Leclerc going into this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix with 10 events remaining.
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“I think he's very much a mature package now,” Horner told Eurosport. “He's got experience behind him but he’s still very, very young.
“He's hugely talented and is using his experience, using his head and his drive, his determination is undiminished. So he’s just evolving still as a person and as a driver.”
Verstappen became Red Bull’s second world champion last year, after Sebastian Vettel won four titles with the team between 2010 and 2013.
Horner says it’s difficult to compare drivers. When pushed about any targets for Verstappen to beat Lewis Hamilton’s wins and pole positions records, he played things down.
“It’s very difficult to compare drivers,” said Horner. We've had some amazing drivers but he [Verstappen] is certainly right up.
“The target is to keep building on what we’ve achieved. There’s no finite targets. It's just about race by race, season by season and giving him a car that his talent warrants.”
Horner has been Red Bull’s team principal since 2005, when the Milton Keynes-based outfit joined F1, after winning three consecutive international Formula 3000 Team championships with Arden, plus two drivers’ titles.
He met Helmut Marko, who recommended to Red Bull co-founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz to make Horner team principal.
Asked whether he thought he would have the success Red Bull have experienced in F1, Horner said: “No. I think I had a desire, and I wanted to win and a hunger to achieve that. But I had no idea what that journey would look like or what we were capable of achieving.
“We’ve still got more to find out.”
Horner signed a contract extension at the end of the last year to remain as Red Bull team principal until 2026.
The 48-year-old says he still has the same excitement about F1 that he had when he first stepped into the paddock.
“I still get the same buzz driving into the track on race morning that I did, even when I was driving myself many years ago,” added Horner.
“It’s the competition, going up against the best teams in the world. You need to be at the top of your game.
“It's a team sport, the biggest team sport in the world and getting a team to work collectively as a single product.
“If you're lucky enough to win a Grand Prix, it means every single person within that organisation is doing and fulfilling their part and role.”
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