Christian Horner believes the F1 title scrap between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc could ‘go all the way’ to the finale in Abu Dhabi… as the Red Bull chief admits he would prefer to avoid a repeat of last year’s close battle with Lewis Hamilton
- Charles Leclerc holds a 19-point gap over Max Verstappen after five races
- The pair have been involved in some fierce battles for the lead this season
- Christian Horner believes the pair will scrap until the season finale in Abu Dhabi
- He had hoped to avoid a repeat of last year’s titanic scrap with Lewis Hamilton
- Verstappen passed Hamilton on the last lap to win the title in Abu Dhabi
Christian Horner believes the battle for this year’s drivers’ championship will once again go all the way to the finale in Abu Dhabi.
After five races, Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari holds a 19-point lead over reigning champion Max Verstappen.
Red Bull’s Verstappen suffered two mechanical retirements in the opening three races, but has cut into the Monegasque’s lead with back-to-back wins in San Marino and Miami.
Charles Leclerc (centre) and Max Verstappen (right) are separated by 19 points after five races
Christian Horner believes their F1 title scrap could go all the way to the finale in Abu Dhabi
He would prefer to avoid a repeat of last year’s fight between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton which went all the way to Abu Dhabi where the Dutchman claimed his first championship
Red Bull chief Horner believes his driver Verstappen could face a repeat of the year-long scrap he had with seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton last season.
He told reporters: ‘Look, there is a long, long way to go and it is so tight with Ferrari. There has been some great racing.
‘You can see there is a great respect between Charles and Max, they are enjoying racing each other, you can see that.
‘I was rather hoping we weren’t set for another competitive year like last year but it looks like this one could well go all the way as well.’
Verstappen and Leclerc have already been involved in some close battles so far this season
Verstappen has bounced back from two DNF’s in three races to win two races on the bounce
Last year’s championship battle with Verstappen and Hamilton was one of the most fiercely-competed in F1 history, with the pair involved in several collisions on the way to Abu Dhabi.
Verstappen clinched the title, albeit in controversial circumstances, to win his first championship by passing Hamilton on the last lap of the season.
Leclerc and Verstappen so far have avoided the controversy of last year’s battle – though there are still a further 17 races to complete this season.
Red Bull’s straight line speed has played into their hands in the last two races, though Horner fears this weekend’s race in Barcelona, could favour Ferrari.
He said: ‘It has been nip-and-tuck and Barcelona is a different challenge, high-speed corners.
Leclerc has seen his championship lead eaten into by the reigning world champion
Formula One is preparing for a double header starting at Spain this weekend before Monaco
‘We know Ferrari is strong in that area. It is horses for courses and [Miami] suited us. We were able to make it work and thankfully got the result.’
The Circuit de Catalunya is a technical track with one long straight and lots of challenging high-speed corners.
A win for Verstappen in Spain would put him ahead of three-time champion Nelson Piquet and Nico Rosberg with 24 career wins – also drawing himself level with five-champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
The Spanish Grand Prix is part of a double header with Formula One then heading to Monaco the weekend after.