Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has claimed that Mercedes have had a better car throughout the year and that Max Verstappen has outdriven the Redbull F1 car.
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Horner said:
“I don't think people actually realize what Max is doing in that car. I really don't think people recognize that. We haven't had the best car all year. Max is a fighter and if there's a driver that deserves to win this world championship, it's Max Verstappen, because Mercedes have had the better car. Look how close Valtteri has been to Lewis this year. Max has been, for me, the driver of the year and he would be very deserving to win this championship. The way he's driven this year, the way he's conducted himself, I think has been outstanding.”
Horner’s comments come after three frustrating weekends for Red Bull which saw Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes dominate to swing the championships around. With just one race to go, Verstappen and Hamilton are level on points, while Red Bull are 28 points behind Mercedes.
Furthermore, Horner has claimed that Hamilton’s Mercedes with the fresh engine is “pretty much un-raceable”. Speaking about Red Bull’s chances going into the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Horner said:
“They have changed the layout and unfortunately the engine speed that Hamilton has is un-raceable. I mean he was second quicker today (at Jeddah), in just Sector 2 and Sector 3.”
Max Verstappen’s Q3 lap in Saudi was one of the best ever in a Redbull
Before locking up going into the final corner and ramming into the wall, Max Verstappen was on an impressive lap that would have allowed him to clinch pole position from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.
Taking full advantage of the circuit and the Redbull’s higher downforce, Verstappen was the fastest of anybody in the first two sectors, making up nearly a quarter of a second on Hamilton.
However, the last corner crash ultimately put him P3 behind both Mercedes.
Speaking of the lap, Horner claimed that Verstappen’s lap was one of the best he has witnessed in a Redbull.
“I think it was the best lap we've ever had in one of our cars. Up until that corner, I would think it was. But you know, it'll get forgotten about because he didn't finish. You know, so it was great, it was an outstanding lap.”