Christian Horner wary of ‘history’ between Hamilton and Verstappen as rivalry reignites

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen walks past Lewis Hamilton. Hungary, Budapest July 2023.

Max Verstappen walks past Lewis Hamilton after qualifying at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Christian Horner has recalled the “history” between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen as the two line up on the front row for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Abu Dhabi 2021 was the last time both drivers qualified on the front row with Hamilton pipping Verstappen to P1 in Hungary after an excellent flying lap late on in quali.

It broke a streak of six consecutive poles for the Dutchman and Hamilton’s next task is to break Verstappen’s current win streak which also stretches to six.

Hamilton’s best chance of doing that will come if he manages to keep Verstappen at bay early on and Horner hopes the “history” between the two will not lead to an early incident.

“I think the track position here is a little like Monaco without the barriers that once you have track position, it’s very hard to overtake,” the Red Bull CEO told Sky Sports F1. “So it comes down to strategy and hopefully I think we’ve got better race pace and we tend to have quali pace.

“But it’s going to come down to the start. We know there’s a bit of history between those two so as long as they make it through the first couple of turns then they will have a good motor race.”

Horner felt as if the team “left a little bit on the table” and cited a snap of oversteer for Verstappen in Turn 13 as the cause of their failure to secure pole.

“All credit to Lewis and Mercedes, it was a very strong lap at the end there. You can see the history with the amount of polls they’ve had and particularly Lewis here so it was a big lap.

“We left a little bit on the table, Max had a snap at 13 But you know second on the grid, front row is still very good.” recommends

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It was not such a strong showing from Sergio Perez who will start in P9 but he did at least make it to Q3 for the first time in seven races. Horner hoped that would allow the Mexican to kick on.

“That’s his first time he’s been in Q3 since Miami so I think for him that was important to get there,” Horner said. “I’m sure he’s not going to be happy being P9 but it’s quite a weird grid.

“We’ve got the Alfa [Romeo]s in there. We’ve got other cars that have moved around a bit, so it’s a bit mixed up.

“But he’s going to race well tomorrow, we just need to make sure we can give them a good strategy.”