Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says “a needle” could be felt between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen throughout the 2021 season.
During his appearance on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Christian Horner gave his thoughts on why he believes the on-track battles between Max Verstappen in 2022, are cleaner than the battles between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton last year.
“You know, there’s a difference, there’s perhaps a different respect with Charles,” Horner said.
“They raced each other since [being] kids, and there was a mutual respect. I’ve never once ever heard Lewis recognise Max’s ability.
“And so of course, there was just a bit more needle to it and you could feel that, and you could sense that between those two drivers.”
Asked if Verstappen and Hamilton were in each other’s heads throughout the 2021 season, Horner said:
“I think arguably, maybe more so in Lewis’ head, because he’s the seven-time World Champion that has everything to lose.
“Max is the young kid that’s taking the risks, that’s throwing everything at it, and got nothing to lose. Some of his overtaking last year was stunning and you felt that started to rattle Lewis, I think.
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“We definitely saw after Lewis qualified on pole at Silverstone and Max won the sprint race you saw Lewis, he was a bit broken after the sprint race.
“Had Max made it through Copse, I don’t think they’d have seen him again that afternoon, so there was an air of desperation building in as well.
“It was high stakes stuff and your emotions run high, but it probably affected Lewis arguably more than Max because, as I say, he’d got more to lose than Max.
“Max had everything to gain,” the Briton concluded.
It’s worth noting that Lewis has praised Max on numerous occasions and vice versa. It’s also worth noting that Max seemed very much affected by Lewis’ tremendous performances in the final few races of the 2021 season, which even caused him to storm off the podium in Saudi Arabia, before the celebration even started.