Christian Horner has asserted that Red Bull want Max Verstappen to win the World Championship in the right way – and not controversially.
Although Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton go into the season’s finale, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, level on points, the Dutchman has the advantage by virtue of his nine wins compared to eight.
That means Hamilton needs to score more points than his title rival to secure a record-breaking eighth crown. If neither increase their tally of 369.5, it will be Verstappen who becomes champion for the first time.
The number of on-track clashes between the duo in this enthralling campaign has aroused suggestions that Verstappen, usually the aggressor of the pair, may not be averse to a collision at Yas Marina that puts Hamilton, at the very least, out of the race.
But Horner, the Red Bull team principal, insists he is eager for the championship to be decided in a “fair and clean way” – and obviously with Verstappen coming out on top.
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Asked if he cared how the championship was won, Horner, quoted by Motorsport.com, said: “Yes, of course we do.
“You want to win on the track, not in a stewards’ room, not in a gravel trap. You want to win it.
“It’s been a tough fight all the way through the year. There’s been some fantastic racing between these two drivers and I hope it’s a fair and clean race in Abu Dhabi.”
Although the momentum is firmly with Hamilton as a result of his three consecutive race wins, Horner also believes his fellow Briton has enjoyed his share of good luck – especially in Saudi Arabia last time out.
The Red Bull boss cited contact with Esteban Ocon at the second restart and the subsequent incident where Hamilton went into the back of Verstappen – for which the Dutchman was penalised for “erratic” driving – as examples of positive fortune.
“Lady Luck’s shining on Lewis at the moment,” said Horner. “Ocon drove over his front wing at the start, he drove into the back of Max. You know, he’s ridden his luck.
“It’s the first time since we were there in 2012, and 2010 with Sebastian (Vettel), that rival teams have gone into the final race fighting for the Drivers’ World Championship (on both occasions against Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso).
“There will be no problem in raising morale going into this final weekend.”
Red Bull want to win the Championship fairly
Christian Horner wants Max Verstappen to win the Drivers' Championship fairly and on track.