Verstappen has "sixth sense" in the wet - Horner

Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen has a "sixth sense" for wet weather driving, after his stunning charge through the field at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Verstappen has "sixth sense" in the wet - Horner
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, leads Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing,celebrates with his trophy on the podium
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, leads Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, out of the pits
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, celebrates with his trophy on the podium
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, celebrates in parc ferme

Verstappen had started a lowly 16th on the grid after an engine problem in qualifying meant he was unable to make it out of Q1.

But the Dutchman against showed his class in tricky conditions from the start – passing nine cars after a brilliant opening lap and eventually finishing third having got up to second at one point.

Horner said that Verstappen's performance was proof of his clear talent – as he ranked him alongside some of F1's greatest.

"He appears to have an almost sixth sense in the wet," said Horner. "He doesn't seem intimidated by it in any way, and is prepared to explore all the boundaries of the circuit available, to find where the grip is.

"There was one move he made on the outside of Turn 6, where he went straight down the outside of two or three cars and then cut back, and it was very, very impressive."

When asked where he felt Verstappen compared to F1's best-ever drivers, Horner said: "I think he is right up there. It is not a coincidence now. You can see Brazil wasn't a one off, and that maybe good old Bernie's sprinkler system would be good for us.

"The way he has grown up driving go karts in the wet on slick tyres and stuff like that, he has developed a real instinct and feeling."

He added: "I remember Sebastian [Vettel] being fantastic in the wet. The first race he won here was outstanding but the great drivers always stand out in wet weather conditions. We saw Lewis at Silverstone in 2008 and the great drivers always do make a mark for themselves."

Understeer

Although Verstappen was close to eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton early on, he eventually slipped back as conditions dried.

And in the closing stages, he even faced pressure from teammate Daniel Ricciardo as his setup balance left him unable to attack much more.

"He was getting a bit frustrated because his car... he wasn't quite as happy with the setup of the car and he had a lot of understeer in the car," explained Horner.

"That became particularly aggravated if he was anywhere near any turbulent air. So as soon as he got to the back of anyone – there was a Renault to lap and then [Romain] Grosjean – on a car that was already struggling for front end, it was just exaggerating his problem, so he was very keen to have clean air."

But Horner said there were no team orders between Verstappen and Ricciardo as they battled it out at the end.

"Daniel ran slightly more downforce than Max, so wasn't quite as quick on the straight. But he was quicker in the middle sector, so it was horses for courses.

"Earlier in the race they had raced each other firmly but fairly and I made the decision, let them race those last 10 laps.

"They knew from the discussions we have had previously, and the only instruction I gave from the pit wall was they just respect each other, which they did. So while they do that, we will happy to continue to allow them to race."

shares
comments
Vandoorne column: Mechanical issue ends promising Williams battle
Previous article

Vandoorne column: Mechanical issue ends promising Williams battle

Next article

Alonso to skip Monaco GP to contest Indy 500

Alonso to skip Monaco GP to contest Indy 500
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021