Christian Horner compliments Max Verstappen, saying he’s shown “such mental resilience” across the 2021 season.
Red Bull is more competitive this season than it has been for years, giving Verstappen a shot at the world title. However, the fight for his first championship has likely been the Dutchman’s greatest challenge in his racing career.
Up against the 7-time champion Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen drove the wheels off his Red Bull all season. At times, he gained momentum against his opponent. Some argue that the 24-year-old would’ve sealed the title before Abu Dhabi if various incidents hadn’t occurred throughout the year.
Verstappen now heads into the final race in Abu Dhabi on equal points with Hamilton. He is under immense pressure as scoring more points than Hamilton this weekend will give him his first title. The Red Bull team principal Horner has given warm words towards Verstappen ahead of the season finale.
“What makes Max so great is the way that he drives, he drives with his heart, he drives with aggression, determination, and that’s what got him into a position to be level on points with arguably the greatest driver of all time, certainly statistically,” Horner told Sky Sport Italy.
“Max has come under a lot of scrutiny, he’s come under massive pressure and, for a just-turned 24-year-old young man, the way that he’s dealt with that pressure and he’s dealt with the criticism, the scrutiny, he’s shown such mental resilience to deal with that.”
“We’re tremendously proud of him, we’re tremendously proud of the way he’s conducted himself this year and, without him, we wouldn’t be in this situation. We wouldn’t be fighting for this championship this weekend.”
“Has he been harshly treated? The spotlight probably shines more brightly on him, some of the decisions this year have felt tough. But, that’s the way it is. We have to live with that and we’ve got to do our best to get the job done on the track.”