Horner: Verstappen most in-form driver

Though he managed to fend off Charles Leclerc‘s challenge for third in the driver standings, despite three wins, Max Verstappen finished 48 points adrift of runner-up Valtteri Bottas, mainly due to Red Bull and Honda’s weaknesses in the opening stages of the season.

As the season progressed, Verstappen claimed his first ever F1 pole along with the wins that saw his team close the gap to Ferrari and send out a clear warning to Mercedes.

Though Lewis Hamilton pretty much romped away with the title (again), Christian Horner believes that Verstappen is currently the sport’s most in-form driver.

“He’s in a position now where he’s more than capable of challenging for the World Championship,” said the Briton.

“We need to give him a car that he can do that with,” he continued. “If we can do that, I’ve got every confidence that he can take the fight to Lewis, Mercedes and Ferrari.

“He’s right there,” he insists, “his form has been fantastic and I believe he’s the most in-form F1 driver at the moment.”

Along with those three wins, the new partnership with Honda has given the Austrian team genuine self-belief in terms of the future.

“I think we’re in the best position we’ve been in since the change in regulations at the end of 2013,” said Horner. “Red Bull‘s philosophy to invest in youth means we have emerging young talent in all areas of the business which is really starting to pay dividends and the team is on a charge.

“We need to come out of the blocks competitively next year,” he admits, “Mercedes are still the benchmark going into next year so we need to try and push them from the first race in order to take the challenge to them.

“There is a real buzz and anticipation in the factory at the moment, so we need to capitalise on that and build on the positive momentum from 2019.”