Saturday, February 24, 2024

Singapore setback propelled Verstappen to new heights – Horner

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says not winning the Singapore Grand Prix hurt Max Verstappen, but at the same time redoubled his determination to be competitive in every race in modern F1 I think this proves just how difficult it is.

Singapore was the only race that Red Bull failed to win in 2023, with the team’s hopes of achieving an unprecedented clean sweep dashed in September’s night race. Verstappen had won 10 straight races heading into Singapore and won the next seven races, but Horner says it had a clear impact on the world champion.

“I think this race makes everything real. I think this year it often looked easy to win,” Horner said. “Winning is never easy, and I think this race made me keenly aware that even if I miss my goal, it’s still close.

“In terms of setup, we arrived with the setup that the simulation tools had led us to, but it just didn’t work on the circuit that day, especially in qualifying.” In the race, the pace started to come back, but as the event started I think if I had known what I knew afterwards, I would have been in a more competitive position.

“The most interesting thing for me about that event…was not the frustration, but how much it hurt Max not to win that event. Very motivated to put his mark on, probably the most motivated I’ve seen him in years.

“I went with him from Tokyo to Suzuka and he said, ‘I’m going to win this race by 20 seconds.’ The first lap in practice on the hard tires was just amazing. He was 2.5 seconds faster than anyone else. His first flying lap, I think he was third in that session.

“It was a great performance all weekend. And he won the race by 19.4 seconds, so when he won the constructors that day, I said to him, ‘Well, you’re just under 20 seconds away. That was it.” He said, “It was a green flag. I lost half a second on the last lap!” Honestly, that was one of the most intense performances I saw from a driver that weekend. ”

Horner believes Singapore will not only show how much effort Red Bull have had to put in to perform at their maximum every weekend, but will also provide a little background on Verstappen’s level of performance. ing.

“It’s been a huge year. For Max in particular, when I look back at the season he’s had, I think he’s been just phenomenal this year, especially overcoming the different challenges of the different venues, circuits and conditions. I think what he’s accomplished is sometimes underappreciated, but it’s nothing short of outstanding.”

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