Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the similarities between Formula 1’s newest winner Max Verstappen and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel are “uncanny”.
Verstappen became F1’s youngest-ever race winner at Barcelona at 18 years and 227 days, breaking Vettel’s record by more than two-and-a-half years. Ferrari driver Vettel set his record at Monza in 2008 with Toro Rosso, before moving to Red Bull and winning four world championships.
In Verstappen’s case, victory came in his first grand prix with Red Bull, having also spent just over one season with Toro Rosso.
“It’s quite uncanny really because there are an awful lot of similarities to when Sebastian joined the team,” said Horner. “The mechanics were telling me even the way he gets in the car is similar, from the same side, the way he pulls his knee up to get into the chassis and so on.
“There are some similarities there, but he’s his own man as well. He’s a very together young guy. You would never think he was 18. Max is the first driver I’ve had where legally I can be his father. He’s been hugely impressive, everything we’ve seen so far from him.”
When askedwhat the expectations are now that Verstappen is a race winner, Horrner said: “To come in and qualify on the second row and win your first grand prix, it can only get worse!
“I suspect he’ll get stronger as he gets more experienced, more familiar with the car and his confidence will grow.”
Horner said he was impressed with the way Verstappen dealt with the pressure from Kimi Raikkonen, particularly as he was attempting to make his medium tires last 32 laps.
“The biggest aspect of his performance has been his calmness,” he said. “He has a lot of capacity when he is driving the car. We were all getting tense with five laps to go because the tires were at the end of their life.
“He had Kimi breathing down his neck and he just very calmly came on the radio said ‘please can you ask race director Charlie [Whiting] to deal with the blue flags swiftly’.
“There was no agitation in his voice, no panic, no tension. It was a young man who was completely in control of what he is doing. That’s what he has done since the moment he has stepped in the car.”
VERSTAPPEN AND VETTEL AFTER 24 GPS
Verstappen Vettel Age: 18 years, 227 days 21 years, 100 days Wins: 1 (24th GP) 1 (22nd GP) Points: 87 36* Points finishes: 12 10 Best qualifying 4th 1st Qual vs team-mate: 13-11 14-10
*Old 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system