SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner celebrate with their team after the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Horner: Wolff best spend time focusing on his team, not drivers

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner celebrate with their team after the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Christian Horner rejected suggestions Max Verstappen had made Formula 1 boring after taking his domination to new heights at the Chinese Grand Prix, the Red Bull boss slamming his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff for coveting the Dutch superstar

The 26-year-old’s first win in Shanghai puts him 25 points clear of Mexican teammate Sergio Perez after five races and was his fourth win of the season. He has also started all five from pole position, the ‘three-time’ F1 World Champion is sure to be ‘four-time” long before the end of this season.

Verstappen has now won half of all the races held since Formula 1 last raced in China, in April 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, only Michael Schumacher ((1) and Lewis Hamilton (103) have more wins than Max who has 58 to his name and counting!

McLaren’s Lando Norris, runner-up on Sunday, told reporters earlier in the weekend that the sport was witnessing a greater dominance than ever: “The only exciting races have been the ones that Max is not in.

“If you see the same driver winning every single time without a fight then of course it does start to become boring and that is obvious,” lamented Norris, who split the dominant Red Bulls on the podium in China.

Horner: Max is just like a metronome

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Max Verstappen of Oracle Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands celebrates finishing in first position in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Talking to reporters in Shanghai after the race, Horner said Verstappen’s performances needed to be appreciated: “Max is a special talent and it’s a golden moment for him.

“As we’ve seen with every single driver it doesn’t last forever and I think it’s enjoying the moment, being in the moment and there’s no guarantees that we’ll be able to give him a car like this every year for the next five years.

“It’s doing what you can, while you can. He’s just like a metronome. The pace that he showed last year, he’s just continued that through,” continued Horner, whose team also won four straight titles with Sebastian Vettel from 2010-13.

“Since the last Chinese Grand Prix he’s won 50% of all the races. He’s won 21 of the last 23 races. He’s in fantastic form, at one with the car and at one with the team and enjoying his racing,” insisted Horner.

“No ambiguity” over where Max would be racing in 2025

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on, on the podium after the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202404210310 // Usage for editorial use only //

As for the Dutchman’s future, the Red Bull F1 boss said there was “no ambiguity” over where Verstappen would be racing in 2025, referencing public overtures by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff despite the champion having a contract to 2028.

Mercedes were dominant from 2014 to 2020 and have a vacancy for 2025, with seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton switching to Ferrari. The Italian team enjoyed a similar golden era with Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s.

“I think sometimes it’s just designed to create noise,” said Horner of Wolff’s comments. “We’ve moved today ahead of the amount of races Mercedes have won in the modern era. The team’s in form, why on earth would you want to leave this team?

“[Wolff’s] time would be better spent perhaps focusing on the team rather than the driver market. Have you heard George Russell is out of contract at the end of 2025? Maybe he might not be so keen to stay in ’26. The market moves around,” reckoned Horner. (Writing by Alan Baldwin)

2024 f1 standings after Round 5 chinese gp