Max Verstappen's personal development over the past year has seen him take the reins in developing Red Bull's car, according to team principal Christian Horner. Verstappen has driven superbly so far in 2019, performing in sharp comparison to a chequered start to the previous campaign.
Verstappen made contact with another driver or track limits in each of the first six races of 2018, things coming to a head when a crash in FP3 at the Monaco Grand Prix left him at the back of the grid for a race which teammate Daniel Ricciardo won with a faulty power unit.
Having put together an impressive upturn in form last year, Verstappen has kept that up so far this year, although rewards have been scanter as Red Bull's RB15 has lacked pace compared to Mercedes and Ferrari.
Having assumed senior status in the team with Pierre Gasly replacing Daniel Ricciardo, Horner says Verstappen has made his presence felt across the team.
"I think really, if you wind the clock back 12 months, Monaco was probably the lowest weekend, last year, of his career, having a car capable of winning and crashing in FP3 and not being able to take part in qualifying," said Horner.
"That was very tough for him and I think he went away from that race and he reflected hard on it.
"Since Montreal last year he's really just stepped things up a gear and he's been a phenomenal force whenever he's been in the car. The way he started this season has been outstanding.
"He's overachieved in certain aspects and I think he's got that roundedness of maturity and is very much leading the team development-wise.
"I think he's enjoying and relishing that role as well, so if you compare Max to the equivalent time last year, he's evolved a tremendous amount and I think that's again the benefit of experience as well."
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