Christian Horner’s clear verdict on lack of Red Bull competition as 2021 recovery mode lingers

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen explaining to Christian Horner. Miami May 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen explaining to Christian Horner. Miami May 2023

Christian Horner has no complaints about the lack of competition facing Max Verstappen this season, after all, he’s still “in recovery from 2021”.

Although Verstappen is cruising to a third World title this season, the Red Bull driver is on course to set several records including breaking his own for the most wins in a single season, his first title in 2021 was a very different championship.

That season Verstappen went wheel-to-wheel with Lewis Hamilton for the World title in a battle that was at times ugly, both on and off the track, but always thrilling and it was one that included two big crashes.

Christian Horner: There’s not one ounce of me that wishes that

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

Verstappen was taken to hospital for precautionary checks after being punted off the track at the high-speed Copse by Hamilton at the British Grand Prix while Hamilton was fortunate to escape without injury when Verstappen landed on top of him at Monza.

Their title fight, which included 14 1-2 results for the protagonists, came down to the final lap of the championship in Abu Dhabi where Verstappen made a last-lap-of-the-season pass on the Mercedes driver to secure the Drivers’ title.

Intense, antagonist, and fraught from start to finish, it’s no wonder Horner is finding this year’s title race a lot more stress-free.

Asked about that after Verstappen’s 10th win of this season at Spa, he told the media including “There’s not one ounce of me that wishes that. I think I’m still in recovery from 2021.” recommends

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Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix not only marked Verstappen’s 10th win of this season, his eighth on the trot but also extended Red Bull’s run for the year to 12 from 12.

They are now two ahead of McLaren when it comes to the all-time record for the most wins in succession with Red Bull having broken that 35-year-old record in Hungary when they bagged their 12th on the trot going back to last year’s Abu Dhabi GP.

The team, and Verstappen, are on course to set numerous records this season with most wins in a season up for grabs, longest winning streak, biggest winning margin in both championships, and most races remaining after winning the title.

“It’s amazing,” Horner told Channel 4, “to think going into the summer break we’ve been unbeaten in both grand prix and sprints so far this season.

“It’s an incredible run that we’re on and again both the drivers and team today were absolutely sensational. So the best possible way to go into that summer shut down.”

The team boss was quick to praise the entire Red Bull organisation, revealing that was the thinking behind sending garage technician Greg Reeson onto the podium to collect the Constructors’ trophy at Spa.

“Results like today,” he said after the race, “it’s the combination of teamwork and that’s why you saw Greg, our garage technician that looks after all the tyres in the garage, get the Constructors’ trophy.

“It’s about every member of the team, every department in the factory, doing their job. You don’t achieve these kind of results by accident.

“I think it’s a golden moment for our team, and I absolutely take a hat off to everybody behind the scenes, everybody that’s working as hard as they are to achieve this kind of performance.”

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