Christian Horner says he respects the way Charles Leclerc has handled himself during a frustrating first part of the season for Ferrari, and praised his approach to racing.
Leclerc won two of the first three races and finished second in the other to open up a lead of more than a race win over the field, but has since only managed to add one additional victory in Austria while multiple other opportunities have slipped away through reliability issues, Ferrari strategic errors and his own mistakes. While Leclerc is now 80 points behind Max Verstappen in the championship fight, Horner says he’s been impressed by the Monegasque driver.
“I have a great deal of respect for the way he’s conducted himself,” Horner said. “And again, the way that he’s racing on track, he’s hard but fair and I think the racing between the two guys… there’s been a lot of hard racing between the two of them in the first half of this championship, but there hasn’t been a single touch. It’s great to see and it’s enjoyable to be part of.
“There’s not one ounce of me that wishes that (Ferrari was better)! Last year was a heavyweight bought that went 22 rounds and I’d prefer not to have to go through that again.”
Despite Verstappen’s significant lead V– one that Red Bull also enjoys in the constructors’ standings – Horner says he’s not allowing himself to believe it will be a simple run to both titles after the summer break.
“The points tables look healthy and it’s a great way to sign off into the summer break but there’s still a lot of racing to go,” he said. “Ferrari are quick, Mercedes are coming back into the game. There’s still a long, long way to go in this championship – plus a Sprint race – so we don’t take anything for granted. There’s still a lot of racing to do and at very different venues.”