Christian Horner believes that Lewis Hamilton is “under way more pressure” to win the 2021 title than Max Verstappen is.
Ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, Hamilton suggested that Verstappen was feeling the pressure of going for his first World Championship and said he could empathise as he felt the same when he was doing so in 2007.
The Dutchman wasn’t a fan of such comments, saying he didn’t feel any pressure and that Hamilton thinking he did showed that his title rival didn’t know him.
When asked for his view on the matter, Horner said that the Mercedes driver was under far more pressure than his given the circumstances.
“I think Lewis trying to get his eighth title is under way more pressure than Max going for his first,” the Red Bull team principal said in Sochi.
“Max is just enjoying what he’s doing, he’s driving better than ever. If you want to look at how he deals with pressure just go and look at Zandvoort, the intense pressure that he was under that weekend.
“Look, he’s driving better than he’s ever driven, he’s enjoying driving the car, he’s enjoying the challenge, he’s enjoying the competition.
“He’s got nothing to lose.”
Breaking: Max Verstappen will start the #RussianGP from the back of the grid after taking on a new power unit. #F1
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Verstappen heads into the race in Russia with a three-place grid penalty that the stewards handed him following the collision between himself and Hamilton in Italy.
Horner previously voiced his displeasure at such a decision and has doubled down on that criticism, although he’s not too worried about Verstappen climbing back up the order.
“If the stewards really wanted to send a message to the drivers, they could have given both drivers a penalty because, for me, Monza was very a racing incident,” he said.
“But look, they came to the conclusion they did, we accept the verdict and the penalty that goes with it.
“Thankfully it’s a track where you can overtake so it shouldn’t be too much of a handicap here.”
The Championship leader will indeed have to do a lot of overtaking if he wants to score big points in Sochi as, due to an engine change, he’s guaranteed to start from the back of the field.
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