Red Bull principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen has been “very mature” in his approach to the new season.
The Dutchman claimed P3 in Australia, crossing the line ahead of both Ferraris, before claiming P4 in the following rounds at Bahrain and China, finishing in front of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc respectively.
Verstappen remains ahead of them both in the Drivers’ Championship, currently holding P3, and while the Austrian outfit are yet to be provided with the power to really fight Mercedes and Ferrari in their first year with Honda, Verstappen’s ability to stay in the hunt gives Horner confidence in the early stages.
“I think he has been very mature about it,” Horner told Crash.Net.
“He has driven three strong Grands Prix so far this year and was obviously unlucky not to be on the podium in Bahrain and had a go at Sebastian in China after the pit stop. He drove a very mature race to bring it home fourth.
“It is important you don’t give away too much ground at this stage of the year.”
Team orders hampered Leclerc in Shanghai, allowing Verstappen to jump the Ferrari newcomer, and Horner sees the gap to Formula 1’s top two reducing.
“It is all about evolution. Our goal this year has been all about closing the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari and we are doing that,” he said.
“We split the Ferraris [in China], we are certainly closer on pace to Mercedes.
“There will be more concertinaing that will happen between now and the halfway point of the year.”