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Christian Horner

Horner: Verstappen kept us in the title race

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says Max Verstappen's driving kept him in the championship hunt.

To news overview © Michael Potts / RN365

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen's level of driving in the second half of the season kept him in the title race.

Verstappen opened up a lead of 32 points going into the British Grand Prix in July, but found himself behind Lewis Hamilton with seven races to go after the Russian GP in September.

Mercedes appeared to have the car to beat for most of the battle, but Verstappen maximised his results to go into the season finale in Abu Dhabi as the championship leader and subsequently became World Champion.

"It's been an incredible year and when you look back at the season as a whole, 22 races, I think the biggest season Formula 1 has ever had," Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"From the first race in Bahrain it has been so competitive. There's been on average probably 0.1, 0.2s between the two drivers throughout the season.

"I think the way that Max has driven throughout the year, what's really stood out for me is in moments of adversity where he's just kept his head down, he's kept believing, he's kept pushing, he's kept driving the team forward.

"We've known every time he's got in the car he's given it 110 percent and that lifts everybody around them.

"Particularly in the second half of the year when we didn't have the fastest package, he kept us in this championship, he kept fighting, he kept believing.

"It's just been the most unbelievable year. We're incredibly proud of everything he's done this year and [he's] totally deserving of this World Championship."

Austin was a key victory

Verstappen failed to finish the Azerbaijan and British Grands Prix, losing a likely win and at least a possible podium.

Horner says it was important for Verstappen to not lose confidence when he got back in the car, which is what happened, as the Dutchman never had an off-weekend all year.

"There's been some big moments," said Horner. "It was important to get those victories, to get the run of results.

"There were moments like Azerbaijan that we had to come back from, and it was important to come back strong. Max did that.

"Silverstone was a key moment and again how you come back from that. For me, the latter part of the championship, particularly Austin, where we were certainly the underdog that day... but he delivered a victory that was truly outstanding."

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