Windsor calls Horner’s statements rude: ‘I’ve never experienced this’

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Peter Windsor is surprised by statements by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, in which he says that Max Verstappen is a better driver than Lewis Hamilton. Windsor says he has never seen a team boss say such a thing publicly about a rival, calling it rude. He also analyzes the performance of Verstappen and Hamilton on Friday, and compares the performance of the men with high and low amounts of fuel.

In the first free practice it was Max Verstappen who topped the times list, but in the second practice he was driven by Lewis Hamilton at more than 6 tenths of a difference. According to Windsor, the results from VT1 are not representative because that session was held at a different time – and therefore under significantly different conditions – than qualifying and the race tomorrow and the day after. At first sight a big problem for Red Bull and Verstappen, who do not seem to have the pace in Abu Dhabi based on the times list.

In practice, however, this is not so bad, says Windsor on his YouTube channel. The times from the official results of the training sessions were of course driven in a qualifying setting, with low amounts of fuel on board. Under those conditions Hamilton was indeed strong: 8 tenths faster on the mediums, 7 tenths faster on the softs, according to Windsor. However, the journalist states that Verstappen suffered from traffic on both tires, which prevented him from setting a good lap time. His times are therefore not entirely representative.

Mercedes should be concerned

Moreover, with high amounts of fuel, things looked better for Red Bull Racing. Racing simulations are done under these conditions. On the mediums, with plenty of fuel, Hamilton was quick and consistent in his lap times. He did 12 laps on the tire – a lot for him according to Windsor, which shows how seriously Hamilton is taking this weekend. However, on the soft tyres, Verstappen showed a pace that, according to the British journalist, Mercedes could be very concerned about. “He was unbelievably fast and unbelievably consistent.” However, Windsor does wonder how the soft will be used: perhaps as an emergency measure, if the teams on the one-stop do not come to the end? According to Auto, Motor und Sport, the tire would probably not be used on Sunday.

‘I’ve never experienced this’

Windsor was further unimpressed by statements by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who said Verstappen was a better driver than Hamilton. Windsor doesn’t necessarily think Horner is wrong, but questions the decision to say so publicly. “It’s one thing to think it, it’s another to actually say it. I’ve never seen a team boss in F1 say something like that about a rival.” Windsor thinks it’s rude of Horner to say that publicly. “He’s not in a position to say that.”

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