Russian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen’s second place ‘feels like a victory’ to Red Bull boss Christian Horner

The Red Bull driver battled from last on the grid and negotiated late rain to finish behind title rival Lewis Hamilton on the podium

Jamie Braidwood
Monday 27 September 2021 18:25
<p>Max Verstappen now trails Lewis Hamilton in the drivers standings  </p>

Max Verstappen now trails Lewis Hamilton in the drivers standings

Max Verstappen’s second place finish at the Russian Grand Prix “feels like a victory”, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has said.

The Dutchman started at the back of the grid in Sochi after Red Bull decided to change his engine and had worked his way through the field into seventh heading into the closing stages.

But the arrival of late rain presented Verstappen with the opportunity to change into intermediate tyres before the cars in front of him and the 23-year-old surged into second place to finish behind title rival Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes driver still reclaimed the lead in the title race with his 100th win in Formula One but Hamilton was left to credit Verstappen for “mega damage limitation” after the gap was reduced to two points.

“Today was like a victory for us,” Horner said to Sky, while also admitting that Red Bull had outlined a fifth-place finish as the best-case scenario before the race.

“To come from 20th on the grid to second, I think if anybody had offered us that we would have bitten your arm off.

“Max got the call right to go on the inters and it worked out well for him. The rain the last five laps came at the right time.”

Horner is predicting that the title race will go down to the wire with seven races to go this season.

The Red Bull boss said remaining two points behind Hamilton after the engine change left his team in a strong position ahead of the run-in.

“To come away from two Mercedes strongholds with only a two-point deficit in the drivers’ championship is hugely encouraging,” he added.

“I don’t think there’s any circuit that stands out as strongly as Russia and Monza [for Mercedes]. You could say it’s 50-50 in what’s left on the table.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in