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Horner jokes: Hamilton could land a big fine if Red Bull spying continues

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is hoping to see Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen reignite their iconic 2021 battle this year and was in a joking mood as he reflected on the first two days of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Christian Horner has reminded Lewis Hamilton in jest that a fine could be coming his way if he touches Max Verstappen's RB18 car, after the seven-time World Champion was spotted peering into the Red Bull garage on day one of F1's Barcelona test. Hamilton took his time to stare down all 10 of the sport's new cars on Wednesday morning as he toured the pit lane at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. But the 37-year-old took a special interest in Red Bull's striking new entry, armed with aggressive sidepods, as Verstappen's team look to claw back as much downforce as possible following this winter's massive regulation change. "I haven't seen that, but if he touched it he's up for a big fine, as Max knows," joked Red Bull team boss Horner to Sky Sports F1 , referring to the €50,000 fine that Verstappen received in Brazil last season for touching and examining Hamilton's rear wing in parc ferme. "There's always a lot of interest this time of year, especially as this is the biggest regulation change we've had in probably 40 years. "Looking at how these rules have been interpreted, even though they're fairly prescriptive, you know, the solutions that the 10 teams have are all quite varying."

Horner hopes Verstappen vs Hamilton continues into 2022

Horner is hoping to see Hamilton and Verstappen continue their rivalry into the 2022 season – but he also expects to see a few new faces join the championship fight. "It's what everybody wants to see; you want to see the best drivers in the world fighting wheel-to-wheel," he continued. "I think Ferrari could be in there, McLaren [are] looking strong, so you might have a few other candidates. And don't forget [Mercedes driver] George Russell. I mean, he's gonna be a key component in this championship as well." As for how the RB18 has behaved at the test so far, Horner said: "It's great to be back on track. These new cars are very, very different, so it's a 'get-to-know-you' process with this new car. "So far, the feedback's been good. It's behaving as we expected, as per our tools predicted, so it's been an encouraging start."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix