MAX VERSTAPPEN holds a huge 63-point lead in drivers’ standings as he bids for a second successive F1 world title.
Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton in April
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Christian Horner has made a brave prediction over the future of Max Verstappen as the Red Bull looks to surge even further clear in his bid for a second F1 title. His win in the French Grand Prix, coupled by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashing out, leaves the reigning world champion with a 63-point lead at the top of the standings.
Verstappen already has seven F1 wins to his name in 2022, overcoming a difficult start to the season which saw him forced out of races in Bahrain and Australia. Given Leclerc’s erratic form, it seems hugely likely that Horner’s main man won’t again be crowned champion before the season finale in Abu Dhabi in November.
It would mean two titles for the star at the age of just 25, with predictions already rife that he could go on to become a future legend of the sport. The current record of seven is shared by Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.
But Red Bull team principal Horner has refused to compare Verstappen with other greats in F1. Instead, he’s opted to focus on the individual qualities of the Dutchman, who already has a staggering 153 F1 races to his name.
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Christian Horner has praised Max Verstappen’s maturity (Image: GETTY)
“I think he’s very much a mature package now,” Horner told Eurosport. “He’s got experience behind him but he’s still very, very young. He’s hugely talented and is using his experience, using his head and his drive, his determination is undiminished.”
In March, the Dutch driver signed a lucrative new deal with Red Bull, tying him until 2028. And Horner warned that despite his current dominance, his best years remain ahead of him: “So he’s just evolving still as a person and as a driver.”
Max Verstappen is odds on for a second straight world title (Image: GETTY)
Horner’s suggestion that the second generation star will get stronger will have his rivals taking note, not least of all Hamilton. The pair became embroiled in a tempestuous battle for the title in 2021, culminating in that controversial race at the Yas Marina.
After a torrid opening to 2022, the British driver has been resurgent of late, making the podium four times in a row. However, Mercedes remain notably off the pace set by Red Bull.