Christian Horner shuts down Max Verstappen suggestions with Red Bull leading standings

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MAX VERSTAPPEN and Red Bull are currently top of both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships

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Christian Horner has denied suggestions that Red Bull are developing their car ‘in one direction’ to favour Max Verstappen over Sergio Perez. The Dutchman has started to build his World Championship lead over the Mexican in recent races with Checo falling down the driver’s standings to third place.

During the early stages of the season, it looked as if Perez was equally as comfortable in the RB18 as the current world champion, something which was underlined by the Mexican’s impressive win in the Monaco Grand Prix. However, Verstappen has been in the ascendancy in the races that have followed, winning events in Azerbaijan and Canada before a second place finish in Austria. 

Verstappen has only been beaten by his team-mate in the British Grand Prix, a race where he was hampered by severe aerodynamic damage suffered as a result of stray debris from an early crash between Alpha Tauri men Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. 

Red Bull currently leads the Constructors Championship by 56 points from its nearest challenger Ferrari. However, recent races have led some to suggest that the drink’s manufacturer have actively sought to develop their car, especially for the 24-year-old, however, team boss Horner has been keen to debunk this belief. 

READ MORE: French GP ‘issue’ expected after Hamilton and Verstappen complaint

Christian Horner shuts down Max Verstappen suggestions with Red Bull leading standings

Christian Horner has denied suggestions that Red Bull are prioritising Max Verstappen this season (Image: GETTY)

“I’m not sure that’s entirely correct,” the 48-year-old told reporters after the Austrian Grand Prix. 

“I think the set-up is crucial. I think that Checo was very competitive in the race at Silverstone, and I think that he’ll have races that we know that he’ll perform very well at.

“Certainly, the developments aren’t being driven in one direction, just an overall car performance improvement.”

Sunday’s outing at the Red Bull Ring was one of the team’s worst performances of the season despite dominating Friday’s qualifying and Saturday’s sprint race. Perez was forced to retire after a first-lap collision with George Russell while Verstappen only held second place amid severe tyre degradation as a result of Carlos Sainz’s engine blowing up. 

Horner has said the team would have ‘plenty to go through’ during the two-week hiatus before the French Grand Prix. 

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Christian Horner shuts down Max Verstappen suggestions with Red Bull leading standings

Some pundits have claimed Red Bull are prioritising Max Verstappen over Sergio Perez (Image: GETTY)

“With the degradation, when you look at the Sprint race, we pushed a bit harder at the beginning, paid a little bit at the end, but over the whole stint was – in our analysis – identical to that of Ferrari,” the Briton explained.

“The only thing that changed overnight is the rain. The temperature changed slightly and of course, the fuel load. We just need to understand why, in that first stint, our degradation was significantly worse than Charles’ and Carlos’.”

Red Bull will look to build on their championship lead when the Formula One circus rolls into the Le Castellet circuit next weekend for the 12th of 22 races this year. 

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