Red Bull owner sees Verstappen as ‘very deserving’ champion – Horner

Max Verstappen's championship victory over Sir Lewis Hamilton was marred by controversy.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said that co-founder of the company, Dietrich Mateschitz, is “proud” of the efforts by the team in 2021 as Max Verstappen claimed his maiden world championship.

The Dutchman claimed 20 race wins and 18 podiums en route to snatching the title away from Sir Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

However, the extraordinary finish was not without controversy, as Mercedes felt aggrieved that a controversial Safety Car restart by race director Michael Masi had cost the 37-year-old his record eighth championship.

READ: Wolff praises Hamilton for behaviour immediately after Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Asked if the co-founder saw anything erroneous about the way in which last year’s championship was decided, the Briton confirmed that the Mateschitz is unruffled.

“No. I think there’s been so much controversy throughout the year, [and] I think there’s been so much bad luck that we’ve had during the season that these things tend to balance themselves out,” he told

“He felt Max was very deserving. He was very proud of what he’d done and what the team had achieved.”

Horner believes that the 2021 season was one of the greatest title battles in memory, and is immensely elated that it was the Milton Keynes-based squad that conquered the Drivers’ Championship with Verstappen.

“I think that it was such an epic year. It was probably the most competitive season in Formula 1 in the last 30 years, and I think, for Red Bull, for Max, for Honda, to come out on top…

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“Yes, we got a little bit lucky with the Safety Car at the end of the race, but so much bad luck [had] gone against us throughout the season.”

The 24-year-old led 652 laps last year, which was more than every other driver combined and his team principal pointed this out to emphasise that Verstappen fully earned his title despite the fortune at the very end of the battle.

“These things, I’ve always said, tend to balance themselves out over the course of a season, and I think Max, he led more than 50 percent of the laps in the year, more than every other driver combined,” the Red Bull boss reiterated.

“He had more pole positions, he had more race wins, and for me he was totally deserving,” he maintains.

2021 Champion Max Verstappen.v1

Verstappen became Red Bull’s first world champion since Sebastian Vettel in 2013, and is set to defend his title this season as Red Bull embark on a new era, making their own power units for the very first time following the departure of Honda.

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