Being a 5-time Formula One world champion, Lewis Hamilton is bound to be hot property on the market. However, Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner has said that if he did hire him, it would not be at the expense of Max Verstappen.
Verstappen’s progresses has impressed Red Bull and they believe that he can continue his steady improvement. The statement comes on the back of a successful 2018 campaign where they capitalised when Ferrari struggled.
So far, the Dutchman has chalked up five Grand Prix victories in his career. He has even been tipped to challenge five-time world champion Hamilton and Mercedes’ current dominance. Their hopes are even higher in the wake of a constructors switch to Honda from Renault.
When asked about a potential swap between Verstappen and Hamilton, Horner firmly said “No – Max is the future,”
Speaking to the Daily Mail in an interview, Horner suggested that Verstappen could seriously challenge the world number one.
He said: “He is 21 years of age and he is evolving. Both he and Lewis are phenomenal drivers. Lewis is one of the best of all time. Max has won grands prix but is yet to compete for a championship.”
“However, in terms of all-round ability, race craft and speed, Max is capable of going shoulder to shoulder with Lewis.”
In 2018, Max Verstappen was the second-best points scorer in the last half of the season. Red Bull boss, Horner hopes that it will instil some confidence in the Dutchman to improve this year.
“Max was top scorer behind Hamilton in the second half of last season, so that shows how well he was driving,” he said.
Horner was quick to praise Verstappen’s passion and hailed it as the reason for his fanbase.
He added: “Max was criticised in some quarters when he showed emotion after the race with Ocon. At least there was passion. People relate to that kind of emotion.”
“That is why he has such a big following. We don’t want vanilla characters. Lewis is a Marmite kind of guy. That is good.”