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Verstappen, Red Bull benefiting from key change in 2019

Verstappen, Red Bull benefiting from key change in 2019

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Verstappen, Red Bull benefiting from key change in 2019

Verstappen, Red Bull benefiting from key change in 2019

Christian Horner has praised a crucial change in maturity from Max Verstappen after the Red Bull driver's solid, if unspectacular, start to the 2019 season. Verstappen took third place in Australia, overtaking Sebastian Vettel, but has since settled for fourth in Bahrain and China.

Verstappen dropped points in all three races last year, spinning behind the Haas of Kevin Magnussen in Melbourne and crashing with both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in China to drop out of a potential winning position, having suffered a DNF in Bahrain after crashing in qualifying.

Continued incidents effectively ended any title hopes Verstappen may have had after just a handful of races, but he is third in the championship heading to Azerbaijan this weekend and Horner says the 21-year-old has played it perfectly.

"I think he has been very mature about it," Horner said.

"He has driven three strong Grands Prix so far this year and was obviously unlucky not to be on the podium in Bahrain and had a go at Sebastian [in China] after the pit stop. He drove a very mature race to bring it home fourth.

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"It is about points accumulation at this stage, it is still not that big a gap to the guys ahead, he is still ahead of both Ferrari drivers in the championship at the moment and still a long, long way to go.

"It is important you don't give away too much ground at this stage of the year."

Having ditched Renault for Honda power units in 2019, Red bull entered the year with a degree of mystery surrounding their standing on the grid, but they remain hot on the heels of Ferrari and Mercedes.

"It is all about evolution. Our goal this year has been all about closing the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari and we are doing that," Horner said.

"We split the Ferraris [in China], we're are certainly closer on pace to Mercedes.

"There will be more concertinaing that will happen between now and the halfway point of the year."

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