Christian Horner speaks out on Max Verstappen calling mechanic ‘stupid’

Shortly after the race started, Verstappen's car began to emit smoke, and he was swiftly overtaken by Carlos Sainz.

Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull Racing, addressed the situation following Max Verstappen’s apparent heated exchange with a mechanic during the Australian Grand Prix.

The incident occurred after Verstappen, who was leading the race and on the verge of securing his 10th consecutive Formula 1 victory, was forced to retire early due to a mechanical failure.

Shortly after the race started, Verstappen’s car began to emit smoke, and he was swiftly overtaken by Carlos Sainz.

Matters worsened when his brake caught fire, compelling him to halt and exit the race.

READ: Lewis Hamilton tipped to stamp his authority against Charles Leclerc

Upon removing his helmet, Verstappen seemed to engage in a stern conversation with a mechanic, during which he appeared to utter the word “stupid.”

Despite this, Horner defended Verstappen, stating, “Obviously, a driver is going to be frustrated when he gets out of a car from a retirement.”

He praised Verstappen’s demeanor towards the team and mechanics, highlighting his graciousness despite the frustration.

Horner remarked on the shared disappointment within the team and emphasized the importance of learning from the incident.

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He also noted the team’s impressive track record of avoiding mechanical failures in races over the past two years.

Verstappen himself provided insight into the issues he faced during the race.

READ: Max Verstappen’s dad admits there’s a power struggle at Red Bull

He revealed that the brakes on one of the wheels had malfunctioned right from the start, likening the experience to “driving with the handbrake on.”

He recounted a peculiar moment when his car was on fire, and there was a discussion about making a pitstop, to which he questioned the rationale, saying, “That was related to us doing a pitstop while the car was on fire.

“I was like, ‘Why are we doing a pit stop?'”