Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner has stated that the decision to allow Max Verstappen to race on his own in Canada, without his management staff, was a joint one made by team and driver.
The weekend’s Montreal race saw Verstappen finish in third place, his second podium of the season. But it was made even more remarkable was the fact that he had done it all by himself.
The 20-year-old’s management did not arrive with him and neither did his father, Jos Verstappen, a former F1 driver himself. After a shaky start to the season, that might have been viewed as a risky decision.
Horner insisted that it was an experiment. “It is the first race he’s ever done on his own and it’s just something different. Whether it has contributed in any way is impossible to say.”
“He is still evolving and maturing as a driver as he gains more experience. It was something that was discussed with him, it was something agreed between him and the team”, said Horner.
He was also quick to praise the youngster’s performance, “He’s been very immersed in everything that he’s been doing this weekend and done a super job, so all credit to him for putting together a very strong race and finishing within a tenth of Valtteri.”
Verstappen may be adamant that he will not change his style of driving under any circumstances, but Horner admitted that he saw a change in his approach.
“His approach has been slightly different and he’s just been here on his own. He is such an exciting talent and in any sport you’ll see sportsmen have periods where things don’t go quite as well for them.”
“Obviously it’s been very public for him. Hopefully his luck is about to change and this was a fantastic performance from him this weekend”, he said.
Asked about Verstappen’s battle with Bottas at the start, Horner said that ‘it was part of what makes him exciting’. He was positive about the clean weekend Max had and iterated that it would give him a lot of confidence in the upcoming races.