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Why Horner is expecting a tough battle at Zandvoort

Red Bull took a comfortable 1-2 finish at last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen winning convincingly despite starting 14th. But Christian Horner isn’t taking anything for granted this weekend at Zandvoort.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says he is expecting a tougher fight for victory at this weekend's Dutch Grand Prix than at the previous round in Belgium. Despite starting the race at Spa in 14th spot after taking a grid penalty for excessive component usage, Max Verstappen scythed his way through the field and was never headed after taking the lead on Lap 18 of 44, winning with consummate ease from teammate Sergio Perez. Such was Verstappen's dominance that Red Bull Special Advisor Helmut Marko said the Dutchman could even have won at Spa from the back of the grid. Horner himself had likened Verstappen's victory to the dominance Red Bull had displayed during Sebastian Vettel's title-winning spell between 2010 and 2013, but cautioned that Spa's form would count for little this weekend. "Zandvoort will probably be a bigger challenge because it's bumpy and bouncy there," Horner told media including RacingNews365.com . "It's probably more akin in layout to Budapest, so Ferrari and potentially Mercedes could come back into the fray, so it's just a different type of challenge."

Horner: No special activities for Max at home race

Verstappen heads into his home race on the crest of a wave, with nine wins in 14 races so far in 2022, and a 93-point lead in the Drivers' Championship. However, despite massive local interest and support, Horner said he was at pains to ensure that this weekend is just like any other for the reigning World Champion. "Obviously, there's going to be huge expectation on Max as he returns there as the World Champion, with the number one on the car," said Horner. "We saw the atmosphere last year, and I think it's only going to step up again this year. "We will approach Zandvoort with exactly the same discipline that we have for every Grand Prix so far this year, and there's no additional activities for Max compared to a standard Grand Prix weekend. "Of course, there'll be an awful lot of noise around the circuit, but we'll try and keep him within a bubble inside the team and try and manage expectations."

Horner taking nothing for granted in title race

Verstappen's lead in the Drivers' standings is mirrored by Red Bull's advantage at the head of the Constructors' Championship, with the drinks-backed outfit now 118 points ahead of second-placed Ferrari. However, Horner was at pains to point out that that situation could quickly change, referencing Verstappen's tricky start to the season when the Dutchman retired from two of the first three races. "As far as the championship tables look, they obviously look really healthy, but things can change very, very quickly," said Horner. "We were 46 points behind when we left Australia, and within a couple of races, had managed to turn that around. "Our prerogative is on each race, one at a time and the championship tables will take care of themselves, so we want to keep this momentum rolling forward."

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