Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he has already spoken to Max Verstappen about his impatience when overtaking after an error-strewn end to the Chinese Grand Prix.
Verstappen had driven an impressive race to be running third and closing on leaders Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel when a Safety Car saw Red Bull pits both of its drivers for fresh tires, dropping Verstappen to fourth behind Lewis Hamilton. Having run wide attempting to pass the defending champion – handing a place to eventual race winner Daniel Ricciardo – Verstappen later hit Vettel at the hairpin and apologized to the championship leader for the incident.
“I was talking with him after the race,” Horner said of Verstappen (pictured above with Horner, left). “He put his hand up, he’s apologized to Sebastian. He did that immediately as they got out of the cars. I spoke with Sebastian and he appreciated Max had apologized to him.
“Yes he’s made some mistakes but I remember when we had Sebastian at a similar stage of his career, it wasn’t uncommon that he also made some mistakes. He will have learned an awful lot from [the race] and put that to good use in the coming races, because we have a very quick car as we’ve demonstrated.
“This result could have been repeated last weekend in Bahrain. Daniel would have been in a strong place in the position he was in.”
On the mistake attacking Hamilton, Horner believes Verstappen put himself in a compromised position despite his fresh tires.
“Max had a grip advantage, he got a better drive, he found himself on the outside and decided to hang it out with Lewis, who was never going to concede in that corner easily. He was more generous with Daniel in the braking area but Daniel picked his time differently to where Max decided to have a go.”
Asked if he needs to sit down with Verstappen to help the mistakes his driver has made sink in, Horner replied: “It will.
“I’m fully confident that he’s a phenomenal talent and he’s smart enough to recognize areas that he needs to work on and I have no doubt that he will address it. We’ve already discussed it.”
Despite Verstappen being reflective after the race and admitting he may need to change his approach, Horner is confident the 20-year-old will not lose any of his impressive skill behind the wheel.
“I don’t think so. You know, his talent is extremely obvious, his bravery and racing instinct is not in doubt. His judgment [in China], he was too impatient. He will have for sure learned from that. I have no doubt of that.”