Verstappen title as special as Red Bull’s first

Christian Horner with Max Verstappen

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has suggested Max Verstappen’s victory in the world drivers’ championship is on par with Sebastian Vettel’s 2010 title.

Verstappen edged out Lewis Hamilton to last year’s crown in a dramatic and controversial season finale following a tense season-long battle that saw both head the competition at times.

Vettel meanwhile never led the 2010 campaign but entered the final race as one of four drivers in mathematical contention, winning the race and with it the championship.

In that instance, he overcame team-mate Mark Webber, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, and Hamilton, who was racing for McLaren.

“It’s always difficult to make comparisons,” Horner said when asked how Verstappen’s championship win stacked up.

“The first title was very special because that was against the odds as well, and I think that this one feels equally as special as that very first title.”

The 2021 championship battle was especially tense, boiling over on a number of occasions both on- and off-track.

Hamilton and Verstappen clashed on multiple occasions, while Horner and his Mercedes counterpart, Toto Wolff, sparred in the media.

“I think the intensity and the competitiveness of this one has been insane,” Horner reasoned.

“And I think the fact that it’s been against the quality of opposition that we’ve had, in both Lewis and the Mercedes team, has stretched us to probably beyond what we even thought we were capable of.

“That’s what makes it even more rewarding that, during the hybrid era, Mercedes have been all dominant, they’ve annihilated the opposition.

“Finally we’ve managed to produce a competitive car and Max has grabbed it with both hands and to manage to come out on top with the biggest title on offer in motorsport is a tremendously proud moment for us.”

While Verstappen claimed the drivers’ honours, Red Bull fell short in the constructors’ competition, Mercedes wrapping up a record eighth consecutive crown.

Preparations for the 2022 season are now well underway, with four teams having already announced launch dates ahead of pre-season testing beginning in Spain on February 23.

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