Horner reacts to Verstappen’s “magical” third consecutive F1 title: “A very polished diamond”

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In a season marked by dominance from the very first race, Max Verstappen clinched his third Drivers’ World Championship after securing second place in the Qatar Grand Prix sprint race. Christian Horner, the Team Principal of Red Bull Racing, reacted with immense joy and pride at Max Verstappen’s exceptional victory.

Christian Horner and Max Verstappen
Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

This triumph unfolded in a rather unusual fashion, with the 26-year-old securing the title during a Saturday sprint race. Horner shared his thoughts on the remarkable achievement, saying: “It’s a first for us. It’s unusual, but do you know what? Achieving a world championship is the most magical feeling and something as a team, you have to celebrate that moment. You have to be in the now basically.”

Max Verstappen’s path to the championship seemed predetermined from the start of the season, as he won a staggering 10 consecutive races from Miami to Monza and shattered numerous records along the way.

Reflecting on the Dutch driver’s phenomenal season, Horner noted: “I think we’ve known it was coming from about the fourth or fifth race, I think from Miami that was such a massive turning point for Max, and then that run of domination of ten victories in a row.

“It’s been the most outstanding, unbelievable season. And to see him now join names in the history of the sport like Jack Brabham, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, Sir Jackie Stewart, there’s some massive names that Max Verstappen now joins that list of very illustrious drivers that form an exclusive club as part of the history of the sport.”

Verstappen’s championship victory marked his third consecutive title, each ending in pretty unique circumstances. In 2021, there was controversy surrounding a safety car restart, while in 2022 was clouded by rule uncertainties at Suzuka.

Comparing this championship win to the previous ones, Horner was full of praise for his driver and team: “It’s been a lot less stressful. Abu Dhabi was obviously insane a couple of years ago, but the last couple of years have just been out of this world in terms of the level that the teams have been operating at.

“The way that Max has been driving and, the amount of races that he’s won, he’s been absolutely dominant, not just this year, but for the last couple of years.”

Max Verstappen
Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen showcased not only his inherent skill, which he’s possessed since entering Formula One in 2015, but he also now has maturity and experience that makes him a complete driver, according to Horner.

“He’s always had the speed from the very moment he sat in the car. And I think that he now couples that with experience.

“He arrived in Formula One as quite a rough diamond. He’s now a very polished diamond. And I think that he’s maintained all those raw attributes that he had but now brings experience and couples that with that.”