Max Verstappen won’t buckle under the pressure of a first genuine title fight, as Christian Horner reckons pressure doesn’t “exist” when it comes to his driver.
2021 has seen Red Bull and Verstappen not only take the fight to Mercedes for the World titles but do so while seeming to have the upper hand.
The points might not suggest that given that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are leading both battles but that, one could argue, is because of Verstappen back-to-back first lap crashes at Silverstone and the Hungarian – neither of which were his fault.
The Dutchman started his fight-back from those disappointments at the Belgian Grand Prix, taking pole position and the win, if one can call it take, to close the gap to Hamilton to just three points.
So far Verstappen has shown no signs that the pressure of the title challenge is getting to him, calming taking on the seven-time World Champion.
“I think Max is always relaxed,” the Red Bull team boss told RacingNews365.com. “He’s 23 and the pressure doesn’t seem to exist that much.
“He’s in good shape and he’s obviously been training hard, preparing for this race [the Dutch GP] and all the other races with great care and attention. He’s ready to go.
“You don’t have to say a great deal to Max. With him the picture is usually pretty clear. He’s a very easy guy to work with.”
In fact Verstappen has had just one moment this season, blowing up at the media when asked one too many questions about his Silverstone clash with Hamilton.
🗣 "After the race was cancelled last year this year will be even more special, and it would be amazing to win on another home circuit in front of the Orange Army." @Max33Verstappen ahead of the #DutchGP 🧡🇳🇱 pic.twitter.com/ZRQr7oCHRu
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) September 1, 2021
This weekend the Dutchman has an added boost, racing in front of his home fans at the Dutch GP at Zandvoort.
Horner is expecting something very special from the crowd.
“Everything is good, we’re looking forward to racing in Holland and I think the atmosphere is going to be fantastic,” he said.
“I think that the support that we’ve seen for Max, wherever we go in the world, there’s always an orange grandstand.
“For us, it’s like another home race, so I’m excited to come and see circuit, the atmosphere and hopefully we can put a good show.”