Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Max Verstappen’s victory in the Austrian Grand Prix was an example of how fine the margins are in Formula 1.
Verstappen came under fire earlier in the season after making a number of errors, with Horner and Helmut Marko saying he should change his approach after crashing in Monaco. Since that mistake, Verstappen has finished third in Canada, second in France and then won at the Red Bull Ring. But Horner says a slight touch with Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap highlights the fine line between success and failure.
“I think again the margins in Formula 1 are so fine, you saw there was a touch at Turn 3 with Kimi, a touch at Turn 7, a few races ago that could’ve been a puncture and it would’ve been a different story,” Horner said. “I think Max obviously has had a tough first third of the year, and I think all credit to him, he’s kept his head.
“He’s put in… the last three races he’s been third, second, and first with three very impressive drives so yeah, he tends to be looking forward not backwards. Because when you look at the tables you look at the what ifs, and it could’ve been a lot closer than it is today but there’s still twelve races to go.
“I think it was good racing all around. I saw Kimi’s start, he got pretty tight, I think he touched Lewis [Hamilton] in the first turn even. So, there was good racing from the guys at the front.”
While teammate Daniel Ricciardo retired with an exhaust issue, Verstappen went on to win despite tire concerns and Horner praised the Dutchman’s maturity in managing his lead while Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel closed in.
“He was very much in control. He was getting the information from the pit wall, he was using the tools he had available to him. And a really very mature drive from him to make sure he had just enough left in the last five, ten laps, because Ferrari were probably better than us on tire deg.
“We knew that they would come back on us at the end of the race. But he had enough in the tank to see off the challenge at the end of the race. So phenomenal for us to win in a Red Bull car at the Red Bull Ring, be given the trophy by an ex-Red Bull driver, a Red Bull day all round.
“The only disappointment is that having been a one-two for a larger part of the race that we weren’t able to convert the 43 points.”