Max Verstappen can change and not lose magic, says Christian Horner
Driver's Red Bull team boss says Max will learn from Shanghai fallout; F1 back in action with Azerbaijan GP this week, live on Sky F1
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 25/04/18 6:20am
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has backed Max Verstappen to refine his driving without losing the 'magic' which has made him one of F1's most exciting talents.
F1 returns to action after a brief stop in Europe at this weekend's Azerbaijan GP in Baku with much focus likely to be on Red Bull's 20-year-old Dutchman, after Verstappen's clumsy collision with Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of the epic Chinese GP.
Verstappen apologised to Vettel, dubbing the costly incident a "life lesson" as team-mate Daniel Ricciardo won the race, and vowed to analyse his performance and return in stronger shape for Baku.
Horner, the Dutchman's team principal at Red Bull, has said: "I'm fully confident that he's a phenomenal talent and he's smart enough to recognise areas that he needs to work on and I have no doubt that he will address it."
Asked if any changes could dilute the 'magic' associated with the three-time race winner's driving, Horner replied: "I don't think so. You know, his talent is extremely obvious, his bravery and racing instinct is not in doubt.
When's the Azerbaijan GP on Sky?
More of the same, please! After all the drama of China, F1 returns to the scene of its most exciting race from last season - live on Sky F!
"His judgement [in Shanghai], he was too impatient. He will have for sure learned from that. I have no doubt of that."
Despite being in his fourth season of F1, Verstappen is the third-youngest driver on the grid and does not turn 21 until the end of September.
Horner drew parallels with Red Bull's experience of a then-inexperienced Vettel when the German drove for them at the start of the decade.
Vettel, then aged 23, was famously labelled a "crash kid" by former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh after crashing into Jenson Button at the 2010 Belgian GP.
"Yes, he's made some mistakes but I remember when we had Sebastian at a similar stage of his career, it wasn't uncommon that he also made some mistakes," added Horner.
"He will have learned an awful lot from [Shanghai] and put that to good use in the coming races because we have a very quick car."
Sky F1's Martin Brundle believes Verstappen will use the experiences of Shanghai as a turning point in his nascent career, tweeting:
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Who will come out on top in round four of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull's battle for supremacy in F1 2018? Watch the Azerbaijan GP live on Sky Sports F1 from April 27-29. Get Sky Sports F1.