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Max Verstappen

Horner warns Ferrari: Verstappen now playing the long game

Max Verstappen is now playing the long game in his battle with Charles Leclerc, Red Bull boss Christian Horner has warned Ferrari ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Verstappen Horner Perez Monaco
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To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool/Getty Images

Christian Horner has noticed Max Verstappen starting to "play the longer game" in his fight to defend his World Championship crown.

The Red Bull driver has recently stormed to a run of three race wins on the bounce, four if his Sprint triumph at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is included.

During that stint, he has wiped away Charles Leclerc's lead at the top of F1's standings and taken the top spot for himself.

Along the way, Horner has witnessed a slightly different Verstappen to the one he has been used to during their seven years together at the team.

Verstappen gaining in experience after first title triumph

Horner says Verstappen now appears to be playing the more patient "longer game" in his battle with Leclerc, and is less eager to take uncalculated risks in his quest for victories.

"Even before last weekend [in Spain], he was sort of building and trying to fight his way back into the Championship," said Horner, speaking to Sky Sports F1 during Free Practice 1 at the Monaco Grand Prix.

"I thought it was telling at Turn 1 in Barcelona, where he had a good start and had a run on Charles but didn't fully send it down inside.

"He's certainly playing the longer game. I think that just comes with experience now that he's got that Championship under his belt."

Horner rates Verstappen's Monaco Grand Prix chances

Monte Carlo proved far from a happy hunting ground for Verstappen during his early years in the sport, but his victory in 2021 secured his place in Monaco history.

This year he must fend off the fast-paced Ferrari who, at the hands of Leclerc, topped the timing sheets during Friday's opening afternoon practice.

"I think from what we saw last weekend, if you had to bet on it, you'd say that Ferrari probably should have the edge here," admitted Horner, as he rated Verstappen's chances at victory.

"But the temperatures are sky-high again. It's all down to the set-up. These cars are so new and they're also so big around here, that anything's possible."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Did off-track matters ruin the spectacle at the Spanish GP?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the Spanish Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen won a thrilling race after Charles Leclerc retired. But was the on-track action soured by a poor fan experience at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya?

F1 2022 Monaco Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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