Like many, Horner cites the fact that the seven-time world champion is driving the best car on the grid, while citing George Russell‘s performance in the Sakhir Grand Prix.
“Max and Lewis stand out for me,” he continued, “but although we should definitely not be blind to what Hamilton has achieved, he does have a good package at his disposal, that while Max has to get more out of his car.
“At Mercedes, a Williams driver can qualify himself directly on the front row and Russell almost won the race,” said the Briton. “However, if at Red Bull someone had to get into Verstappen’s car, for example if Max had corona, nobody would reach his level.
“His qualifying performances are of an exceptional level and his race craft is excellent, just like his tyre management,” he said of his Dutch star, who ended the season just 9 points adrift of championship runner-up, Valtteri Bottas.
“Max has become better at ‘reading’ the race,” he continued, “giving feedback to the team, but also dealing with disappointment, for example. He has matured very much in those areas.”
Asked if the 23-year-old has reached his peak, Horner is in no doubt.
“No, I don’t think so,” he replied. “The others have a hard time compared to Max’s performance.
“If you look at his performance in Abu Dhabi, his pole was phenomenal and then he controlled the race in a very mature way from start to finish.”