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Christian Horner

Horner dismisses Wolff claim: 'I've learned not to listen to him'

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has made light of Toto Wolff's claims that no-one will be able to catch Max Verstappen in the race for this season's drivers' title, despite the year being only four rounds old.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has poked fun at Toto Wolff for writing off the current F1 season with 20 races still left to run.

Max Verstappen made it three wins from four to start the 2024 season at the Japanese Grand Prix, winning in dominant fashion from team-mate Sergio Perez.

Despite a blip in the preceding round in Australia, where the three-time world champion retired, and Perez was not in a position to capitalise – failing even to reach the podium – the Milton Keynes-based outfit has taken three one-two finishes.

Verstappen leads the drivers’ title fight with 77 points, 13 ahead of Perez with Red Bull on 141 in the constructors' - 21 ahead of Ferrari.

More worrying for the chasing pack, however, has been the dominance of Verstappen’s performances in taking his three victories, following on from the 19 he scored last season.

Regardless of its strong start, Horner is not taking anything for granted, nor did he miss the opportunity to have a bit of fun at the expense of old adversary Wolff.

Speaking to media, including RacingNews365 at Suzuka, Horner was asked if Wolff was right to assert that nobody can catch Verstappen this season.

“It’s very early to write off your year, there’s still 20 races to go,” he replied.

“I’ve learned not to listen too much to what Toto says over the years.”

Verstappen form has 'carried through'

In addition to the level of dominance seen in Verstappen’s victories this season, when emerging from his RB20, the Dutchman does not appear to have had to reach the same physical exertion as his peers.

The 57-time race winner has cantered to the chequered flag in those wins, despite his closest competitor being in equal machinery. At Suzuka, the 26-year-old beat Perez by 12.5s, with the closest non-Red Bull – Carlos Sainz in third – over 20 seconds behind.

“I think he’s in great shape,” Horner weighed in.

“You know, he's changed trainer over the winter. He's fit, he's lean. And the car is in a great window, and you can hear the capacity, the spare capacity he has in the car… is very impressive.”

“The form he had last year has just carried through.”

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Monaco Grand Prix - Qualifying