Max Verstappen’s recent struggles are a consequence of how quickly he arrived in Formula One, says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
A series of incidents in the opening races of this season have prompted criticism of the 20-year-old’s approach.
Verstappen had just one year’s experience of driving racing cars, in Formula Three, when he entered F1 with Toro Rosso in 2015. The following year he was promoted to Red Bull and immediately won his first race for the team.
Verstappen’s latest setback occured in Monaco, where a crash in practice meant he had to start from the back of the grid. However Horner believes his driver will put his recent troubles behind him.
“Most guys would have gone through some of this in the lower formulas that you wouldn’t have even seen, whereas he is having to deal with it in a very public arena. I’m sure he will emerge from it on the other side.”
Verstappen’s struggles have contrasted with the fortunes of team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who scored his second victory of the year last weekend. Horner says the pair are a close match in outright speed but believes Ricciardo has improved in other areas.
“Since the beginning of 2016 when they got together it’s been no more than a tenth or so between the two of them.
“Daniel has continuously raised his game and I think he is in a purple patch of his career now at 28 years of age. He’s got the experience, he’s got the speed and [Monaco] was a great example of problem management under pressure.”
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