Max Verstappen's luck will turn, insists Red Bull's Christian Horner
By James Galloway at the Red Bull Ring
Last Updated: 12/07/17 5:20pm
Max Verstappen's recent frustrations are part of his F1 learning curve and the Dutchman needs to keep faith that his luck will turn, according to his Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
A series of mechanical retirements in the season's opening eight races have left Verstappen marooned on 45 points, less than half of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo's total and over 100 adrift of the world championship summit.
Successive retirements while running in the top four in Montreal and Baku have heightened Verstappen's frustration, with the 19-year-old not fulfilling his usual media engagements after the last race.
In a special Sky F1 feature with Red Bull and their drivers ahead of the team's home Austrian GP, Horner said Verstappen has been blameless amid his recent bad luck and is "driving at an unbelievable level".
"We sit down and talk about these things and he's driving at such a high level at the moment," Red Bull's team boss told Natalie Pinkham.
"He's doing everything right, there's nothing that he's done wrong, so he's just got to keep doing what he's doing. He can see the potential in the car is there.
"He was running P2 in Montreal when the battery failed. He was probably in position to win the grand prix in Baku when the engine failed. It's nothing he's doing wrong so he can take real solace from that."
Despite outqualifying Ricciardo at the previous four races before Austria, the Australian finished on the podium at all those four events while Verstappen retired through car failures three times.
The Dutchman's only podium of the season came back at April's Chinese GP. He starts fifth in Sunday's race at the Red Bull Ring after errors in Q3.
"It's all part of his trajectory and learning curve," insisted Horner. "He's 19 years of age, he's had a few rough races. That will turn.
"His talent is growing and it's exciting how much talent this young guy has got and he'll suddenly put a run of three races together where everything will go his way. Sometimes in sport that's the way things happen."
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ earlier this week, Verstappen described his season as "a bit messy" - and made clear he gets frustrated because he wants to succeed.
"Of course I can be disappointed," said Verstappen. "It's a bit of a human reaction I think because it's a bit weird to say 'oh well, that's it, that's racing'.
"I also want to win races and finish on the podium - and I want to finish races. When all of that is not happening of course you're not happy. But also the team understand that and they're also not happy with what's happening at the moment."
Red Bull have repeatedly insisted both Verstappen and Ricciardo are under firm contracts and therefore staying at the team for 2018, with Horner again rubbishing fresh speculation the Dutchman could switch to Ferrari anytime soon.
Asked if he would still be at the team next season, Verstappen replied: "Yeah, I think so."
Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.