Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the quality of Max Verstappen’s drive in the Italian Grand Prix was overshadowed by his collision with Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen was running third at Monza when Bottas attempted a pass around the outside into the first chicane, with light contact between the two seeing the Mercedes forced to use the run-off area. Verstappen was handed a five-second time penalty for causing a collision that ultimately dropped him from third to fifth at the checkered flag, and Horner believes that result does not do his drive justice.
“It would still have been a mission to keep him behind [without the penalty] but Max would have given it everything to retain that position,” Horner told RACER. “The Mercedes was just a faster car — we shouldn’t have been ahead of it in the first place. So to have got to within 10 laps or so of the finish ahead of a Mercedes at Monza, considering our deficits, was a mighty drive from Max.”
Despite the penalty costing Red Bull a potential podium, Horner admits he felt Verstappen could have left Bottas more room, but takes issue with the lack of investigation into more significant contact between other drivers.
“Probably Max should have given him an extra inch and a half. If it had been the other way ’round we would have been arguing the same. So as soon as it goes to the stewards, you’re in their hands.
“I suppose the problem is you look at other incidents between Force India — or whatever they’re called these days — and Haas, and there’s actual contact and bits flying everywhere and it doesn’t even get reported to the stewards.
“We accept it. What’s disappointing about it is it was the difference between a podium and fifth place. Max drove the wheels off the car all weekend and drove a very strong race, but we’ll brush ourselves down and focus on the next one.”