Max Verstappen receives Tyson Fury backing in title fight ahead of Azerbaijan GP

F1: Red Bull's Verstappen gets in shape for new season

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has received backing from world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in his bid for his first Formula One title, according to his boss Christian Horner.

Verstappen and Red Bull took control of both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in Monaco after outperforming Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton last time out.

The Dutchman now has a four-point lead over the seven-time world champion heading into round six, the first time Verstappen has ever led the drivers’ standings.

Writing in his column for Red Bull, Horner praised Verstappen’s victory and even drew correlations between his driver and Fury.

“So far this championship is box office,” said Horner. “I even received a text from Tyson Fury after Max’s win in Monaco.

“The two-time world heavyweight champion is a fan of Max and there has been a lot of excitement from other sports around the competitive championship fight we are in.

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“Tyson is an incredibly passionate and focused guy and I think he respects the fact that Max drives in a similar way.

Hamilton struggled in Monaco, starting sixth on the grid and finishing seventh, with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas forced to retire during his pit stop.

Horner, however, was clear to state it was a team effort in Monaco, with Sergio Perez finishing fourth.

“Monaco really was a great weekend in terms of performance and points for us,” added Horner. “To come away as leaders of both the constructors’ and the drivers’ championship was beyond all our expectations going into the weekend.

“It was a masterclass from Max and while it was more of a muted Monaco without our floating Energy Station, it was great to see some fans back to the grandstands, plus it was great to be back racing in Monte Carlo. It is an iconic race.

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“There were some suggestions in the press that the Team had lost some of its championship sharpness but the results in Monaco show how quickly things can change as well as the narrative.”

“We expected the last two races to be Mercedes’ strongholds and I think the most exciting thing is that, bar Portimao, we have led at all the races.

“We have been right there and fortune and bad luck always equals itself out over the course of a season, that’s just the nature of sport and you have to take the rough with the smooth.

“We have had two victories and three second-places out of the first five races, which is a phenomenal start and something everyone in the Team should be proud of.

“All that matters is that we have confidence in each other. There has always been a strong sense of belief within this Team and we are all true racers at heart.”

Verstappen looks to extend his lead at the top of the standings this weekend as the championship heads to Baku, Azerbaijan.

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