Christian Horner backs Max Verstappen after Austrian Grand Prix crash with Lando Norris

One of the burning questions following the Austrian Grand Prix was whether Max Verstappen and/or Lando Norris would change their racing style following a dramatic late-race collision that ended both drivers’ chances of securing a victory.

According to Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, Verstappen will not be changing a thing.

Speaking with Sky Sports ahead of the British Grand Prix the Red Bull boss backed his driver’s approach while noting that future incidents between Norris and Verstappen should be expected given how both drivers are performing at the moment.

“Certainly, from Max’s side, he’s not going to change,” said Horner.

“There’s an element, I think, of Lando learning how to race Max and they’re discovering that. Inevitably, there is going to be more close racing between the two of them as the cars look so close over the forthcoming races.

“Max is a hard racer – he’s probably one of the hardest racers on the circuit and everybody knows that if you’re going to race against Max, he’s going to give as good as he gets.”

Horner also addressed comments made by McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella immediately after the race. Speaking with Sky Sports F1 analyst Ted Kravitz, Stella outlined how the reluctance of race stewards to intervene in the past — such as during the 2021 season when Verstappen was battling with Lewis Hamilton — led to moments like the incident in Austria.

As you might expect, Horner had a different view.

“He raced incredibly hard in 2021, he’s a tough racer, and he hasn’t really been racing anyone for two years because he’s been out front so much,” Horner said.

“The conflict between the two of them has been building over two, three, four races where they’ve been racing each other closely and hard, and at some point that was always going to spill over – and it did at Turn 3,” began Horner. “He was punished in 2021 if he did something wrong just as Lewis, who he was racing so hard that year, was for things he did wrong.

“I think it’s wrong and unfair to label a driver like that and I’m sure in the heat of the moment it was frustrating for Andrea, but that’s just tough racing. He worked with Michael Schumacher [at Ferrari] for so many years – he of all people should know that.”

During his discussion with Sky Sports, Horner also addressed another burning question following the Austrian Grand Prix: Have Norris and Verstappen discussed the incident?

According to the Red Bull boss, that chat has already happened.

“I understand they’ve spoken already, I don’t think there is any issue,” added Horner.

How the two drivers handle similar battles going forward will be a major storyline throughout the rest of the 2024 campaign. But one thing is clear:

The FIA Press Conference schedules for this weekend’s British Grand Prix — which have yet to be announced — could be fascinating.

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