Hamilton takes stunning win after crash with Max Verstappen
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Red Bull boss Christian Horner has dismissed claims that his team are strong favourites to win the next two races in Mexico and Brazil. On Sunday, Max Verstappen held off Lewis Hamilton in a thrilling finale to the US Grand Prix to extend his championship lead to 12 points.
And afterwards, the British driver conceded Red Bull’s record at the venues coming up would make it difficult for him to catch his Dutch rival.
“There are two circuits (Mexico and Brazil) that are strong for Red Bull, so we’ll just try and minimise how strong they can be compared to us and see if we can do a better job,” he said.
Neither Grand Prix took place in 2020 due to Covid-19 whilst in 2019, it was Hamilton, 36, who won at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track in Mexico City, but Verstappen, 24, who prevailed in Sao Paulo.
Horner however, rubbished Hamilton’s suggestions that his team would have the advantage, and said things were too close to call as the season reaches an enthralling climax.
“You’ve got to chuck the form book away. It’s very tight between the two teams,” Horner told The Sun.
“Mexico has been a good track for us, but it’s been a good track for them as well, on occasion. So we don’t underestimate them.”
The two races in South America are part of a pivotal period in November, with Qatar then becoming the third Grand Prix in as many weeks. The season then culminates in December with races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
And Horner, 52, whose team still trail Mercedes by 23 points in the Constructors’s standings, says the only option for both Verstappen and Sergio Perez is to keep attacking.
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“So we’ve got to keep attacking race weekends and get the most out of them that we possibly can. And five to go, the pressure only gets bigger.”
Via Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull enjoyed four consecutive drivers’ titles from 2010-13, but Mercedes have dominated in the seven years that have followed, with Hamilton taking six of those titles and Nico Rosberg one.
Hamilton also won a title at McLaren in 2008 but knows his quest for a record-breaking eighth crown is in serious jeopardy, and his latest comments have been perceived as mind games by some pundits after the disappointment of missing out on a win at the Circuit of Americas.
He also said afterwards that he wasn’t obsessing with the 12-point gap between him and Verstappen.
“I’m not thinking about the deficit at the moment,” he told reporters.
“I’ve got to be happy with the job that I did today and live in the moment. Unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough to win the race. I’ve just got to look forward and just take it one race at a time.”
The next race in Mexico is on Sunday, November 7.
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