Motor Sports

Boring dominance? Horner defends 'metronome' Verstappen

SHANGHAI: Red Bull boss Christian Horner rejected suggestions Max Verstappen had made Formula One boring after the triple world champion took his domination to new heights in China at the weekend.

The Dutch 26-year-old's first win in Shanghai sent him 25 points clear of Mexican team mate Sergio Perez after five races and was his fourth win of the season. He has also started all five from pole position.

Verstappen has now won half of all the races held since Formula One last raced in China, in April 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

McLaren's Lando Norris, runner-up yesterday (April 21), told reporters earlier that the sport was witnessing a greater dominance than ever and "the only exciting races have been the ones that Max is not in.

"If you see the same driver winning every single time without a fight then of course it does start to become boring and that is obvious."

Horner said Verstappen's performances needed to be appreciated.

"Max is a special talent and it's a golden moment for him," he told reporters.

"As we've seen with every single driver it doesn't last forever and I think it's enjoying the moment, being in the moment and there's no guarantees that we'll be able to give him a car like this every year for the next five years.

"It's doing what you can, while you can.

"He's just like a metronome. The pace that he showed last year, he's just continued that through," continued Horner, whose team also won four straight titles with Sebastian Vettel from 2010-13.

"Since the last Chinese Grand Prix he's won 50 per cent of all the races. He's won 21 of the last 23 races. He's in fantastic form, at one with the car and at one with the team and enjoying his racing."

Horner said there was "no ambiguity" about where Verstappen would be racing next year, referencing public overtures by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff despite the champion having a contract to 2028.

Mercedes were dominant from 2014 to 2020 and have a vacancy for 2025, with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton switching to Ferrari – who had a similar golden era with Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s.

"I think sometimes it's just designed to create noise," said Horner of Wolff's comments.

"We've moved today ahead of the amount of races Mercedes have won in the modern era. The team's in form, why on earth would you want to leave this team?

"His (Wolff's) time would be better spent perhaps focusing on the team rather than the driver market. Have you heard George Russell is out of contract at the end of 2025? Maybe he might not be so keen to stay in '26. The market moves around." — Reuters

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