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Horner hails Verstappen’s ability to perform under pressure

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen (right) celebrates with team principal Christian Horner after the Dutch Grand Prix. Photo: John Thys / AFP

Red Bull boss Christian Horner marvelled at Max Verstappen’s ability to focus and “get the job done” after another majestic display from the double world champion in Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix.

A ninth win on the bounce drew him level with the record established by a former Red Bull driver, Sebastian Vettel, in 2013.

But it was by no means as easy as a picnic in the Zandvoort dunes, with Verstappen’s home fans turning up in their tens of thousands to see him perform.

“The expectation, how much noise and support that he’s had – everyone feels that, we feel that within the team,” said Horner.

“But he’s in the zone, he can focus on himself and get the job done.”

He added: “To match Sebastian, nine straight victories, to do it twice as a team is really incredible.”

The Verstappen roadshow moves on to Monza next weekend where he will line up 138 points clear of teammate Sergio Perez in the championship.

That gap would have been less but for Perez picking up a five-second time penalty in Sunday’s race, knocking him off the podium into fourth.

Looking ahead to his shot at a 10th consecutive win Verstappen said: “I’ll think about that next week, I just want to enjoy this one.”

He revealed Vettel had messaged him after he had notched up his fifth win in a row.

“Seb texted me and said: ‘Well done what you’re doing. Keep it up – you’re going to do it.’

“I was like: ‘That’s nine wins in a row; that’s something very impressive.’ And I never thought I would be already on eight. But it’s not something that’s constantly in my head.

“I am not in the sport to try and break records, I’m just here to win in the moment.”

His prospects of claiming a third straight driver’s crown look nailed on, with the clever money suggesting he could well seal the deal in either Japan or Qatar.

Such is his supremacy he can still clinch it even if he never wins another race all season.

Sunday’s result kept Red Bull in with a shout of creating F1 history by going through the season unbeaten.

Remarkably Red Bull have won every single race since the French Grand Prix in July last year apart from one – George Russell success for Mercedes in the penultimate race of 2022 in Brazil.

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