Horner: Max was the coolest guy out there

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Red Bull team chief Christian Horner was full of praise for Malaysian Grand Prix winner “cool guy’ Max Verstappen, comparing the young Dutchman to the team’s former champion Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking after Verstappen scored his first win of the season, Horner said, “He was the coolest guy out there. You see under pressure he is really delivering at a massive level, and this year his performance particularly on a Saturday have been massively impressive.”

“We know that Daniel is one of the best, so to have the two of them pushing each other the way that they are is a dream situation for the team.”

The manner in which Verstappen went about his business on the day, clinically overtaking the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton for the lead of the race, invariably drew comparisons to Vettel in his heyday with the energy drinks team, where the German won his four F1 world titles in succession.

Horner explained, “Max is a very different character to Sebastian but what you see in standout drivers, you see similarities. Where Sebastian was very strong under big pressure moments, Max has that ability too. He was so cool today leading the grand prix.”

Prior to his victory, Verstappen had endured a season plagued by problems and incidents, and as a result the records showed he has suffered seven DNFs in the fifteen rounds of the season so far.

Horner added, “When you reflect on his season and look in the detail of it you see that so many grands prix he has been a great position like Baku, Montreal, Spa. When things beyond his control have gone wrong.”

“He should have had a huge amount more podiums this year. When it turns for him it will turn in a major way. That is exactly what has happened today, he has put in fantastic drive and showed his ability and class and dominated the race from start to finish.

“He has endured so much bad luck this year. He’s kept his head down. The race he drove today was truly dominant, and the pass he made on Lewis early on was a key moment. From that moment he controlled the race exceptionally to the finish,” concluded the Red Bull team chief whose team lies third in the constructors’ championship standings.