Max Verstappen should look to teammate Daniel Ricciardo and modify his approach after a number of incidents during the 2018 season so far, according to Christian Horner.
Red Bull had the fastest car throughout the Monaco Grand Prix weekend but was unable to fully capitalize on finishing one-two in all three practice sessions as Verstappen’s crash late in FP3 caused him to miss qualifying. While the 20-year-old recovered to finish ninth in the race, Ricciardo won from pole position and team principal Horner wants Verstappen to learn from his teammate.
“I think he has a very good teacher in the car next door to him,” Horner said. “Max has an abundance of talent and had some harsh lessons this year and I think a modified approach will benefit him.”
Asked if he has spoken to Verstappen, Horner replied: “Yes, of course.
“But you’re going to get a thousand different opinions and the only person who can address it and deal with it is Max. [Monaco] was very painful for him.
“He’s very aware. We talk weekly … and of course what frustrates him is that he’s working harder than ever, feels fitter than ever and it feels like he’s just trying a bit too hard at the moment. Of course, when you get into a spiral and try harder I think you just need to hit the reset button.”
And Horner admits Verstappen’s age could be playing a part in his recent errors, with the Dutchman having made his Formula 1 debut during a practice session for Toro Rosso at the age of 16.
“Sure. Look Max arrived in F1 very quickly so he is doing his learning in a very public arena and is in a front-running car very quickly. Most guys would have gone through some of this in the lower formulas that you wouldn’t have even seen, whereas he is having to deal with it in a very public arena. I’m sure he will emerge from it on the other side.”
But the Red Bull team principal doesn’t see Ricciardo’s performances as a significant factor, insisting Verstappen has only known a stern challenge from his teammate since being promoted from Toro Rosso.
“Since the beginning of 2016 when they got together it’s been no more than a tenth or so between the two of them. Daniel has continuously raised his game and I think he is in a purple patch of his career now at 28 years of age.
“He’s got the experience, he’s got the speed and [Monaco] was a great example of problem management under pressure. I would encourage you to listen to his radio content because the way he dealt with that was incredible.”