Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step
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Martin Brundle has compared Max Verstappen to Michael Schumacher after dominating the 2022 Formula One season. The Sky Sports host said Verstappen was “pulling away” from the rest of the pack despite saving tyres at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He suggested this skill was similar to Schumacher’s ability to secure wins in his most dominant campaigns with Ferrari 20 years ago. Writing in his Sky Sports column, Brundle explained: “In commentary I described Max Verstappen’s drive as ‘Michael Schumacher-esque’ because it seemed however slow he was driving his car to preserve tyres he was still pulling away from the field.
“It was a little less comfortable when Charles Leclerc pitted his Ferrari on lap 21 for hard compound tyres to take to the end of the race because firstly he was driving beautifully, and secondly the car worked very well through this phase of the race.”
Verstappen broke some of Schumacher’s records in 2022 after cruising to his second world title a year on from controversially winning his first. Verstappen’s 15 race wins were the most in a single F1 season since the sport began, eclipsing Schumacher’s and Sebastian Vettel’s previous record of 13.
However, the Red Bull star was unable to equal Schumacher’s record for the earliest title win. The German won the crown after just 11 of the 17 races in 2002 as Ferrari destroyed the rest of the opposition.
Instead, Verstappen had to wait until Japan with four races remaining to wrap up his championship. Brundle praised Red Bull for their “clever strategies” and “strong reliability” which played a part in their success.
Red Bull also claims a wind tunnel penalty for breaching the budget cap could cost the team around half a second per lap next year. However, Brundle has suggested Verstappen is at such a level that he would take “some serious beating” in 2023 and beyond despite Mercedes vowing to close the gap.
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He added: “It was a season dominated by Verstappen and Red Bull. Points wise Max finished the equivalent of well over five GP victories ahead of Leclerc in second place, and Red Bull well over four victories ahead of Ferrari.
“A tale of numerous pole positions and victories along clever strategies, fast pit stops and strong reliability. Congratulations to them all at the track and in the factories, it was immense. Max in particular is at a level which will take some serious beating in the next few seasons.”
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