Hamilton takes stunning win after crash with Max Verstappen
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Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes lack belief in themselves as the Formula 1 world title race enters its final stretch. Max Verstappen and Hamilton are battling for the world championship in one of the most thrilling title battles in Formula 1’s modern history.
Mercedes have enjoyed an unparalleled period of success as the German manufacturer dominated the turbo hybrid era, winning seven straight constructors’ and drivers’ titles.
Hamilton won six of the seven titles in such a span, with former teammate Nico Rosberg pipping the Brit to the championship in an intense 2016 season.
With six races remaining, Hamilton is currently competing with Verstappen to win a record eighth world title – with the Dutchman eyeing a maiden championship himself – and their personal feud has often gone beyond the confines of the track.
Horner, the team principal of Red Bull, believes the comments made by Mercedes and Hamilton throughout the season are simply reflective of their own lack of confidence.
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“We just remind Max that our focus is very much on ourselves and not to get sucked into any of our competitors’ comments when they’re taking a pop at you,” Horner told The Guardian.
“They’re doing that because, ultimately, they don’t have that inner confidence in themselves. It’s best to take that as a compliment.”
The fascination of the incredibly tight championship battle has been deepened by the fact that there is blatant hostility between Horner and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
However, Horner is confident his man can come out on top as Hamilton – and Mercedes’ – reign over the sport potentially draws to a close.
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Verstappen has won seven races in 2021 while Hamilton has taken the chequered flag on five occasions, which could point towards a changing of the guard.
“I think, inevitably, there’s always going to be an evolution,” Horner added regarding Verstappen’s title challenge.
“Lewis has had an amazing career and he’s still in fantastic form. He’s still a titan of the sport. The fact that Max is able to go toe-to-toe with him is probably something Lewis hasn’t had throughout his career – certainly through the championship years.
“There’s nothing with this degree of intensity. There’s obviously a lot at stake for him as he’s going for a record-breaking eighth championship, Max is going for his first and he knows he’s got many more years to come.”
When asked about how difficult a challenge it would be to top Mercedes, Horner suggested it would be the Milton Keynes-based outfit’s finest achievement.
“If you look at the strength of Mercedes, and the dominance they’ve had, it’s clear that nobody’s come near them for years,” added Horner.
“No one has put them under this kind of pressure at this stage of the season so it will be an enormous achievement if we pull it off.”
Formula 1 returns to Texas for the United States Grand Prix on October 24, with Red Bull star Verstappen holding a slender six-point lead over Mercedes’ Hamilton.
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