Amid recent debate about how much longer Hamilton and Verstappen can avoid getting involved in a collision based on their recent close on-track battles, Hamilton had suggested that Verstappen’s aggressive moves have been the result of the Dutchman having a point to prove.
But Horner has brushed off such a suggestion, and thinks that his comments are an indication that he may be feeling the heat from Verstappen’s passes.
“Lewis loves all that, all that rubbish,” Horner told Sky Sports F1 when asked about his remarks that Verstappen has a point to prove. “So just let him get on with it.
“I think Max does his own thing, and he is his own man. You can see, the fact that Lewis feels he needs to do that means that actually Max is probably getting under his skin a little.
“I think that it is great, it is part of the sport. We’re only at the beginning of the championship. You know, we’re not even anywhere near halfway yet.
“So can you imagine what it’d be like by the time, if they’re that close, going into the last few races.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
The focus on the potential for a Verstappen/Hamilton collision was fuelled by McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who said recently that it was only a matter of time before the pair failed to make it out of the opening corner of a race.
Horner felt that such a situation was not actually inevitable, as he felt both had driven very well so far.
“I would think Zak is praying for that, to capitalise,” said Horner. “You’ve got two guys that are racing hard against each other and, on my calculations, Max has now passed Lewis three times to Lewis’ once in the race, and they are racing hard.
“As the championship runs on, tensions and pressure will inevitably grow. I don’t think it’s the intention of either driver to have a collision with each other and I think the racing we have seen so far has been exemplary.”
Verstappen himself has brushed off Hamilton’s remarks, and reckons the pair have both raced hard but fair so far.
“I have nothing to prove,” said the Dutchman. “And avoiding contact, I think it goes both ways. So we have done well, that’s true. But yeah, we race hard, we avoided the contact, both sides. So yeah, let’s hope we can keep doing that and keep being on-track and racing hard against each other.”