Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Max Verstappen cast his Singapore GP frustrations away by taking to the paddle tennis courts, beating his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, which Horner joked was not well-received.
Verstappen went into the Singapore Grand Prix on a run of 10 victories in a row, toppling the previous record of nine set by Sebastian Vettel as a Red Bull driver.
Red Bull meanwhile were unbeaten in 15 ahead of their trip to the Marina Bay Street Circuit, but both streaks came to a surprise end.
Christian Horner praises Max Verstappen mentality
Both Verstappen and Sergio Perez would be eliminated in the Q2 stage of qualifying, and while the RB19 looked much closer to its best in race trim, P5 was the best that Verstappen could manage.
Horner though praised their soon-to-be three-time World Champion for his “very constructive” response to that shock defeat, though the process to get over it did not exactly leave Lambiase in the best of moods as Verstappen returned to winning ways on the paddle ball court.
“Max was super clear last weekend,” Horner told media at Suzuka. “He was very, very constructive in the debrief, very constructive all week.
“Taking his frustration out on the paddle tennis courts with his engineers, beating ‘GP’, which didn’t go down well, but he’s been very constructive in his approach.”
Singapore a good reminder of the pain of losing
While Verstappen makes a point of playing down the relevance of records to him as a Formula 1 driver, Horner believes that record-breaking 10th successive win actually “meant a lot” to Verstappen.
But, adding that Verstappen knew a defeat would come eventually, Horner sees the importance in feeling the pain of defeat, as if anyone in the team felt nothing, then they are in the “wrong business”.
“I think he knew it was always going to come to an end at some point,” Horner continued. “It was just a question of when.
“I think that 10th victory meant a lot to him. And certainly to the team and so I’m certainly glad that Singapore wasn’t the 10th race in that succession of races.
“But I think he has shown great leadership, great maturity in the way that he handled [it]. Of course everybody was disappointed in last weekend, you get used to winning and it’s a good reminder of how much it hurts to lose. And if it doesn’t hurt to lose, then you’re in the wrong business. So I think there’s a good reminder of that.
“I think we took an awful lot of lessons out of last weekend.”
Verstappen made the perfect start as he looks to bounce back at Suzuka, dominating both Friday practice sessions ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.