Horner: Max needs to get DNFs out of his system

Date published: September 18 2020

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Red Bull principal Christian Horner understands the frustrations that Max Verstappen expressed after back-to-back DNFs.

The Dutchman was forced to retire from the Italian Grand Prix with an engine-related issue, and a second DNF followed at the Tuscan Grand Prix when Verstappen was punted into the gravel on the opening lap.

Verstappen had beaten Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton off the line, but quickly sunk down the order with a lack of power, and by his own admittance was probably going to have to retire before the collision anyway.

Verstappen made his frustrations clear over team radio and later told the media that he was “sick of it” as his slim hopes of the 2020 Drivers’ Championship likely vanished with those back-to-back DNFs.

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But Horner completely understands the frustration that his driver showed and highlighted the need for Verstappen to get those DNFs out of his system.

“Max’s frustration at another DNF is totally understandable. From the very first lap in Mugello he was on it,” Horner wrote in his column on the Red Bull website.

“We had a very fast car and some real progress has been made with the balance of the car. That is what was so galling for him. In the heat of the moment when you have gone from the adrenaline of the start to the disappointment of ending up in the gravel trap, it is only natural to vent on the radio.

“We really felt that in the race we could take the fight to Mercedes. He had done the hard work in beating Lewis off the line and it was going to be game on, but of course that did not materialise.

“It was the second race in a row and a huge frustration for him because he is hungry and wants it so badly. If he did not have that hunger, he would not be the driver he is and the one that we all want to watch fight for victories each weekend.

“He has to get it out of his system now and then look forward. We will go through it with him prior to Sochi and discuss what has been done behind the scenes between Honda and the Team to help so it is rectified for the next race.”

Verstappen goes into the Russian GP at the Sochi Autodrom P3 in the Drivers’ Championship, 80 points behind leader Hamilton.

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