“We take our cap off to him” — Christian Horner praises Lewis Hamilton’s F1 British GP victory

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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With rivalries running deep in Formula 1, sportsmanship remains a cornerstone of the sport, as evidenced by Christian Horner’s recent comments on Lewis Hamilton’s latest victory, at the British Grand Prix.

When asked about Hamilton’s win, his first since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, one that happened towards the end of an incredibly tense and controversial season that involved Red Bull and Mercedes, Horner was quick to offer praise.

“I think, first of all, we have to congratulate Lewis on winning this race. I thought he drove a very good race today. He was a deserving winner,” Horner said.

He acknowledged the emotional weight of Hamilton’s victory.

“For any driver to win a race nine times is an outstanding achievement.”

“And to have won it here in the UK, which obviously is very special for him as a British driver, he should be very proud of that. So, you know, we take our cap off to him today. He did a very, very good job.”

Hamilton secured his ninth victory on home soil, establishing a new record for the most wins at a single circuit. Despite the triumph, the race was challenging for the British driver due to variable weather conditions and a strong pursuit from Max Verstappen in the final laps. The 39-year-old managed his soft tyres perfectly and had great pace to take a brilliant win.

Horner also reflected on the broader significance of Hamilton’s victory for Formula 1. Six drivers have now won a Grand Prix in the first half of the season.

“I think Formula 1 can’t be in a better place at the moment,” he remarked.

“If you look at the last five, six races, we’ve had Lewis, we’ve had Lando, we’ve had Max, we’ve had Charles Leclerc. It’s moving around. And the only one that’s managed to be there consistently has been Max.”

Horner underscored the sport’s growing appeal, particularly with Hamilton’s recent win. “You can see by the crowds that it’s delivering and so on. And I’m sure Lewis’s win today was a very popular win in front of a home crowd.”

Reflecting on the current season compared to last year, Horner admitted that the increased competition adds extra and a different kind of pressure.

“When we were winning races by 30, 40 seconds last year, it was slightly less stressful. But it’s weird because when you’re winning races by that margin, you’re just focused on reliability and other elements. Now you don’t get a chance to think about reliability because it’s all about driving flat out.”

Although Verstappen did not take the top spot, finishing in second place was a commendable outcome, especially after starting fourth following a broken floor in qualifying and struggling on the mediums in the first stint. Team principal Christian Horner noted that Verstappen faced difficulties in the wet conditions, which are usually his forte.

Horner emphasised the satisfaction that comes with hard-fought victories, and he says last year was a unique one in the history of Formula One, something that may never be seen again. Red Bull won 21 of the 22 races last year.

“I think it’s more rewarding to win a hard-fought race. Of course, it is. But 2023, I think it’s only with hindsight, will become a very special year in what was achieved that year.”