His furious tirade of insults was given during a Channel 4 interview with David Coulthard, who actually fuelled his anger even more by asking him if he thought it was fair that Lewis won the race after overcoming a ten-second penalty.
But, ultimately Horner didn’t do himself any favours, as Lord Peter Hain called him out for giving racist “an excuse to let fly their vitriol and evil at Lewis”, after his “ill-judged, intemperate and plain wrong attack”. Then Mercedes went public with how displeased they were that Horner and Red Bull had tried to “tarnish the good name” of Lewis Hamilton.
None of that appears to have made any difference to Horner. This week he let his tongue loose on a podcast, saying that he has “never once ever heard Lewis recognise Max’s ability” and that Max was “started to rattle Lewis”, which supposedly made him more reckless in his driving.
I would like to remind Mr Horner just how wrong he is.
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Firstly, in 2021 Max amassed 7 penalty points for his aggressive behaviour, and frequent attempts to push Lewis off the track. Lewis had 2 because, although in the British Grand Prix crash Lewis was deemed “predominantly at fault” for the incident, the wording of the stewards’ statement clearly showed that it was not a blatant shunt. For the rest of the year he had no more penalty points. On the penultimate race of the year, Verstappen spent the whole race heckling Lewis, and continually trying to run him off the track. In Saudi Arabia he also brake test him, which earned him a penalty. Mr Horner seems to have completely forgotten about that.
Horner also said that the rivalry between Max and Charles Leclerc is friendly, so I guess last year must have been Lewis’ fault? Really? Did not Max and Charles frequently clash during their karting years due to Max’s aggression?
Horner seems to delight in trying to bring Lewis down with words that are simply not true. Why is that? Maybe extreme jealousy, as he is determined to view Verstappen through rose tinted glasses? Formula One has changed so much since the Dutch driver came into the sport. There are a certain type of fan who look up to Verstappen, who have made themselves known at recent grands prix by behaving irresponsibly with orange flares, and terrorising Lewis fans, burning clothes with his name on, and dishing out racist and sexist abuse. They are very much akin to football hooligans.
So I would suggest that “nice” Mr Horner owes Sir Lewis a heartfelt apology, although it’s most unlikely that it will happen. But he also need to keep his house in order, and that means disciplining his driver, and start rebuking his fans for their feral behaviour. Stop calling the kettle black, Mr Horner, and start telling the truth!
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