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Horner tips 'unlucky' Verstappen to bounce back

Christian Horner and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
© XPB 

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has acknowledged that Max Verstappen has been unlucky so far in 2017. But Horner tips the 19-year-old to turn things around in the second half of the season.

And he added that one victory would quash those lingering rumours about Verstappen seeking to leave the team at the end of the year.

"Max is an ambitious driver and he can not stand the defeat, which is the hallmark of the great champions.

"It was unbelievably unlucky," Horner continued. "He was out in Spain which wasn't his fault, and then suffered repeated breaks in Montreal and Baku when the podium was within his reach.

"Max was running P2 in Montreal when the battery failed. He was probably in position to win the Grand Prix in Baku when the engine failed. It's nothing he's doing wrong so he can take real solace from that.

"The summer break comes at the right time to take him for a better second half of the championship," added Horner. He said that he had been impressed by Verstappen's "surprising maturity" given his young age.

"Very maturely, especially when you consider how young he is. In England, Max can't even rent a car!" Horner noted.

"It's all part of his trajectory and learning curve," insisted Horner. "He's 19 years of age, he's had a few rough races. That will turn.

"His talent is growing and it's exciting how much talent this young guy has got.

"It's impressive how he deals with the pressure, expectations and interest, especially from the Netherlands," he added. "As a driver he is becoming stronger but also as a human.

"He will suddenly put a run of three races together where everything will go his way. Sometimes in sport that's the way things happen."

While some of the problems faced by Verstappen have been mechanical, a few have been driver error. He collided with his team mate Daniel Ricciardo in Hungary and had to apologise for this error. But Horner said such things were to be expected.

"No one is perfect, so it's always about improving in small ways," he commented. "That's also exactly the way we work as a team. While already at a high level, Max has the same desire to get more and more out of himself."

And Horner said there would be little point in Verstappen moving elsewhere, even if his current Red Bull contract didn't extend into 2019.

"A contract must reflect mutual interest," he said. "I am convinced that once we succeed there will be no team for which he would rather drive."

"It does not make sense to talk about the longer term because we must first offer him a car that he can win with.

"Certain tracks should suit us and we will continue to push in the remaining races to Abu Dhabi," he concluded. " All the lessons we can draw from here will also be useful for next year."

 
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