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Formula 1 isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. These words were made infamous by Lewis Hamilton at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. However, these words aren’t really that untrue. What Hamilton couldn’t put into motion that fateful weekend, has rung true for almost as long as F1 has existed. To win a race, you need talent, skill and sometimes luck. But to win a championship, it takes much, much more. Red Bull and Max Verstappen learned this the hard way. But Christian Horner had already done his homework.

The 2021 season was one of the greatest seasons in the history of the sport. Verstappen and Hamilton fought to the end. Even though the season ended on a controversial note, the Bulls eked out whatever they had left to come out victorious. That being said, the stellar performance put in that night by the Milton-Keynes-based outfit was in fact ignited by their leader, Christian Horner.

How Christian Horner fueled Max Verstappen to championship glory

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Both Hamilton and Verstappen went into the final race equal on points. Hence, it was pretty simple. Whoever came out in front of the other as the chequered flag fell would be crowned World Champion. Naturally, tensions would’ve been running high in both camps. But Horner had an ace up his sleeve.

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During a recent episode of Red Bull’s Mind Set Win podcast, Horner revealed, “Going into that race, I spoke to the whole team before the race.”

“I said, “Look, whatever is the outcome of this Grand Prix is just go out there and enjoy it. You’ve worked all season to get to this position where we’re tied on points going into the final race of the year. Whatever happens it’s been an incredible season and the whole team have done an unbelievable job.””

Read More: F1 Champ Serves a Crushing Blow to Lewis Hamilton’s Title Hopes While Showering Praise on Max Verstappen

And while in the aftermath of the race Horner rejoiced, his counterpart felt very differently.

Toto Wolff fell out of love with F1

7x champion, Lewis Hamilton was visibly distraught after the race back in 2021. However, his boss and close friend, Toto Wolff was not unaffected either. The way in which Hamilton lost the title will always be a blot on F1’s rich history. But nothing will ever heal the wounds left on Wolff in the aftermath.

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He was quoted by The Times as saying, “It was tough after Abu Dhabi [the final race of the 2021 season]. I have always liked the principle that the stopwatch never lies; the team that wins is the one that deserves to be the champion.”

“But this was different. At the end of the race, an individual [Michael Masi, who has since been replaced] took decisions that were not reflected anywhere in the rule book and were so drastic that they made the outcome unbelievable. That is a moment when you fall out of love with the sport. The principle of fairness was breached.”

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Watch this Story | Helmut Marko blasts Lewis Hamilton for a role in Michael Masi’s sacking

Will 2021 go down as the greatest F1 season ever?

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Anirban Aly Mandal

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Anirban Aly Mandal is a senior F1 writer at EssentiallySports, with over 500 articles published on the platform. Anirban's love for F1 started when he discovered a copy of F1 2014 while playing on his computer, and he has since then dived deep into the world of motorsports. Anirban's expertise goes beyond just writing - he has also written several academic papers focused on the domain of motorsports.
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