How Max Verstappen has changed since 'dethroning' Lewis Hamilton in F1 title battle

Red Bull chief Christian Horner has opened up on his his star driver Verstappen has matured since becoming world champion by beating Hamilton to the 2021 championship

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Max Verstappen has “built on his experience from last year” and matured into a better racer, according to his team boss.

Christian Horner has heaped praise upon the Dutchman, who attracted criticism from some fans and pundits for his aggressive racing style while challenging Lewis Hamilton for the 2021 title. The Red Bull chief feels his success in that battle has helped him to race more calmly.

“[Verstappen] did a hell of a job last year,” Horner explained on the F1 Nation podcast. “Think back to some of the races that he drove under immense pressure. Austin stands out to me as one of the races towards the end of the campaign.

“But again, the racing this year has been excellent, and the cars can follow a bit closer. We’ve seen that across these eight races or nine races so far. So yeah, he’s definitely built on his experience from last year, and you can see that having won that world championship, he’s just driving with even more maturity.”

His words echo those of Sky Sports pundit and former F1 star Karun Chandhok, who feels Verstappen has undergone a “shift in mindset”. The Indian ex-racer is of the opinion that his battle against Charles Leclerc is bringing out a different side to the Dutchman compared to what we saw during the Hamilton battle.

Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to become world champion for the first time


AFP via Getty Images)

He said: “You know, Lewis was the incumbent, the king of the castle, and Max had to come along, or felt he had to come along, to basically dethrone him and got his elbows out a bit more. Whereas with Leclerc, they’ve grown up as peers, and I feel like Max doesn’t feel like he has to necessarily, you know, knock him off that pedestal.

“He sees Leclerc as an equal as someone he’s raced with since they were kids and therefore, there’s less ‘elbows out’ in the way they go racing with each other and it’s cleaner. They give each other more space and maybe some of it is maturity and having that world championship, but I do think there is a shift in the mindset for sure.”

Meanwhile, Verstappen’s good friend and fellow Dutch motorsport star Tom Coronel believes Ferrari should do everything they can to snatch the defending champion away from Red Bull. The World Touring Cars veteran told the RacingNews365 podcast that he believes the 24-year-old would “one hundred per cent” be even more successful if he raced for the Italian outfit.

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