"I'm not ever going to get too hung up on it" - Max Verstappen 'absolutely' deserved 2021 F1 championship title, says Red Bull's Christian Horner
Max Verstappen was absolutely deserving of the 2021 F1 Drivers' World Championship, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
The Dutchman claimed his maiden world title under dramatic and contentious circumstances in the eyes of some at the 2021 F1 Abu Dhabi GP. Former race director Michael Masi chose to interpret the rules unconventionally, setting up a single-lap dash to the finish line between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton after a Safety Car period late on.
Max Verstappen's performances across the entirety of last season, however, made him a worthy world champion. He claimed 10 wins, 10 pole positions, and 18 podium finishes in 2021, setting a new record for podium places in a single season in the process.
In an interview with Sky Sports F1, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was asked to share his thoughts on the culmination of the 2021 World Championship battle and the conversation that has surrounded it ever since. The Briton said:
“I always tend to look forwards so Abu Dhabi already seems a long time ago. The page always turns. I can understand that if you were a Lewis [Hamilton] fan or a Mercedes fan, that you’ll feel pretty aggrieved by the events of Abu Dhabi. If you’re a Max [Verstappen] fan, you’ll feel it was redemption for earlier in the year. That’s where sport is always going to be polarising. Last year wasn’t just about Abu Dhabi, last year was about 22 races. Do I think Max deserved that championship? Absolutely. I’m not ever going to get too hung up on it.”
Max Verstappen will be 'very difficult to stop' in current form, claims Jacques Villeneuve
Max Verstappen is a machine that will be difficult to stop in the 2022 F1 season, according to former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.
Since claiming his first world title in 2021, Verstappen has kicked things up a notch this season. The defending world champion has secured eight wins in 13 races in the current campaign. He has been on the podium in every race he has finished bar the 2022 F1 British GP.
This superlative run of form, coupled with Ferrari's issues, has helped Max Verstappen build an 80-point lead over Charles Leclerc heading into the summer break.
With nine races remaining in the year, Villeneuve feels Verstappen is on track to land his second world title and no one on the field can deny the Dutchman.
In his column for Dutch publication Formule1.NL after the 2022 F1 Hungarian GP, which Verstappen won despite starting from P10 and spinning his car during the race, the Canadian wrote:
“Max is a machine, really not normal. He wasn’t even tired yesterday, I don’t think he even needs a vacation! He’s driving so strong this year, the team doesn’t make mistakes. And when something goes wrong, he and Red Bull always provide the best conditions to put things right. Yesterday he could have limited the damage, he didn’t have to win but he does. That’s how they go into the race, don’t put any pressure on themselves but then play it excellently.”
Verstappen could now be on track to set a new record for most wins in a single season if he continues driving at this level. Sebastian Vettel holds the current record with 13 wins in 2013, en route to his fourth world championship with Red Bull.
What's your favorite race of the 2022 season so far? Tell us in the comments below..