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Verstappen backed "to go for it" in sprint showdown with Hamilton

Verstappen backed "to go for it" in sprint showdown with Hamilton

F1 News

Verstappen backed "to go for it" in sprint showdown with Hamilton

Verstappen backed "to go for it" in sprint showdown with Hamilton

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has no doubt Max Verstappen will "go for it" going into his São Paulo Grand Prix sprint showdown with Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen heads into the 24-lap race on Saturday knowing he can afford to finish a comfortable second to Hamilton to secure pole position for Sunday's main event.

That is because Hamilton carries a five-place penalty into that race following another internal combustion engine change, which means a five-place grid drop and a start of sixth at best should he claim pole position from the sprint.

Horner, though, feels if Verstappen is given a sniff of a chance at the start then he will not hold back.

"He's a racing driver," said Horner on Verstappen, who carries a 19-point lead in the drivers' standings into the race. "If he can get the lead at the start he'll go for it. It's Max.

"He needs to finish second to get the pole for the race on Sunday. Let's see, so much can happen, but you've just got to go for the start and then see where you are."

Hamilton finished almost half-a-second clear of Verstappen at the end of qualifying, which raised a slight eyebrow with Horner even if he sensed the Briton would finish quickest.

"We saw from this morning [in practice] Lewis was very, very strong," added Horner.

"That fresh engine is obviously pumping out some horsepower for them. Second was the best we could hope for, and to be up there on the front row, we're okay with that."

Assessing the performance advantage of the fresh ICE, Horner said: "Difficult for us to be able to predict that but it looks like, given the relative speed compared to Valtteri [Bottas], it's a couple of tenths.

"That's obviously why they've chosen to taken it here.

"But we've got a good race car. It's going to get hotter through the weekend which is going to be a factor. It's obviously been pretty cool today. Let's see in the race tomorrow."

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