Red Bull chief Christian Horner has admitted that he believes his driver Max Verstappen is a better driver than 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton after now-teammate George Russell used his car last season to great success.
Lewis Hamilton had to miss the Sakhir Grand Prix during 2021 because he caught COVID-19. The then-Williams driver Russell stepped in to take the wheel while Hamilton was unwell, and almost immediately the Brit qualified behind teammate Valtteri Bottas by just 0.026s.He then found himself leading the race by over 10 seconds, although pitting issues surrounding his tyres later ruined his chances of winning in the Mercedes.
“I think Verstappen is the best, and George Russell’s performance at Mercedes confirmed that for me,” Horner told the press.
“Max and Lewis stand out for me but, while we should definitely not be blind to what Hamilton has achieved, he does have a good package at his disposal.
“While Max has to get more out of his car.
“At Mercedes, a Williams driver can qualify himself directly on the front row and Russell almost won the race.
“However, if at Red Bull someone has to get into Verstappen’s car, for example if Max had corona, then nobody will reach his level.”
Hamilton has been struggling so far this year, but Miami was a breath of fresh air for the Brit who was able to pull some more performance out of his car. Russell showed some very talented driving as he pushed from 12th to 5th, but team principal Toto Wolff believes they can extract even better lap times from a car that suited the Miami track
“I think we have seen a performant car yesterday in FP2 that was real, we were able to put it in the sweet spot and today in FP3 we were completely off with the experiments we did,” he said.
“Creeped a little bit back, but the car is still bouncing like a kangaroo, the drivers are not happy with it, and you can see that is the reason why we are off.”