Christian Horner exclusive: Red Bull boss on Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes rivalry

Watch the full interview with Red Bull boss Christian Horner as he discusses the 2021 title battle against Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton and why he’s excited about the future of the team and world champion Max Verstappen

Last update: 08/10/22 12:05

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Martin Brundle joins Christian Horner at his country home to discuss all things Red Bull.

Martin Brundle joins Christian Horner at his country home to discuss all things Red Bull.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has admitted he can understand why Lewis Hamilton fans would feel ‘aggrieved’ by the Abu Dhabi title decider last year, but believes Max Verstappen has ultimately earned the honour. championship.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle from his home, Horner – Red Bull’s incredibly successful team boss who has won nine Formula 1 world titles – discussed a range of topics, from his management style and from his journey to the rivalry with Mercedes and The Intense Finale of 2021.

Verstappen and Hamilton entered the final tier of racing with points after a spectacular campaign, although Abu Dhabi was shrouded in controversy after the Dutchman overtook the seven-time champion, who had dominated the race, on the very last lap .

It has since been confirmed that race director Michael Masi applied the safety car rules incorrectly, while “human error” was determined to be a factor. Masi has now left the FIA, F1’s governing body.

As the new season fast approaches, relive some of the most intense fights on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen from last year.

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As the new season fast approaches, relive some of the most intense fights on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen from last year.

As the new season fast approaches, relive some of the most intense fights on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen from last year.

Horner said he could understand why Hamilton fans would feel uneasy, but prefers to look at the season as a whole and believes Verstappen deserved his first crown – alluding to Verstappen’s bad luck at Silverstone when he crashed after contact with Hamilton, who was penalized but won the race.

“I always tend to look forward, so Abu Dhabi already seems a long way off,” said Horner. “The page always turns.

“I can understand that if you were a Lewis fan or a Mercedes fan, you would feel quite aggrieved by the events in Abu Dhabi.

“If you’re a Max fan, you’ll feel like it was redemption for the start of the year.

Max Verstappen doesn't think Michael Masi should have been sacked as race director following his controversial handling of last season's title decider in Abu Dhabi.

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Max Verstappen doesn’t think Michael Masi should have been sacked as race director following his controversial handling of last season’s title decider in Abu Dhabi.

Max Verstappen doesn’t think Michael Masi should have been sacked as race director following his controversial handling of last season’s title decider in Abu Dhabi.

“That’s where the sport is always going to polarize. Last year it wasn’t just Abu Dhabi, last year there were around 22 races.

“Do I think Max deserved this championship? Absolutely. I’m never going to get too hung up on that.”

Verstappen is on course for his second championship this year with an 80-point lead at the summer break, while Hamilton, whose Mercedes was much slower than expected, is only sixth in the standings.

Horner: Very easy to “pull Toto’s chain”

Last year’s rivalry also veered off track, with Horner and Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff making frequent media comments throughout the season.

“It’s in no way personal!” insisted Horner, who spoke of having respect for Wolff but also expressed his belief that he “had” reached the Mercedes boss, who was in his first real title battle after years of dominating the F1.

England's Stuart Broad reveals why he's such a fan of Toto Wolff and why the drama between the Austrian and Christian Horner reminds him of Manchester's Premier League rivalry.

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England’s Stuart Broad reveals why he’s such a fan of Toto Wolff and why the drama between the Austrian and Christian Horner reminds him of Manchester’s Premier League rivalry.

England’s Stuart Broad reveals why he’s such a fan of Toto Wolff and why the drama between the Austrian and Christian Horner reminds him of Manchester’s Premier League rivalry.

“Toto is Toto. He did a phenomenal job with Mercedes. He obviously came to the sport from a very different background to me, he mostly comes from a financial background.

“And it’s very easy to pull his chain, and you can see that. Sometimes it affects him. So of course when you’re competing, and last year was so intense and of course it’s was the first time he participated in this situation, it’s always interesting to see how people react.

“And when they break earphones and so on, you can see you hit them.”

When asked if he thought he was a better team leader than Wolff, Horner added: “It’s not for me to judge…

“I focus on what I do, you are judge and jury. Sometimes we are judged by Sky but that’s not for me… I focus on what I do and he focuses on what he does .”

“I doubt Fergie ever cared about that!”

Horner also explained how the public perception of him or his style never affected him.

“If it bothers you, you shouldn’t do the job,” he told Brundle. “My job is to do my best for the team and the people I represent.

There was certainly no love lost between Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull boss Christian Horner in last season's incredible title fight.

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There was certainly no love lost between Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull boss Christian Horner in last season’s incredible title fight.

There was certainly no love lost between Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull boss Christian Horner in last season’s incredible title fight.

“If I look at someone like Sir Alex Ferguson, I doubt he ever cared about the perception that other managers or people thought of him in the sport.

“My priority and my prerogative is to do my best for the people I represent.

“Whether it’s with the promoter, the FIA, whether it’s getting the right shareholders or sponsors, with the media, we do our best with the tools we have.”



Christian Horner exclusive: Red Bull boss on Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes rivalry

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