‘Taking the mickey’: Christian Horner reveals Max Verstappen incident

Max Verstappen would've claimed the maximum points on offer at the 2023 Belgian GP had he set the fastest lap.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed that it was him who stopped Max Verstappen from setting the fastest lap at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend, a decision which saw him mocked.

The reigning World Champion was imperious once again last weekend at the historic Spa-Francorchamps, with him having claimed all the honours bar one.

Verstappen claimed pole position for the sprint race and the main race, whilst he also won both races.

The only thing which eluded him was the bonus point for setting the fastest lap.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

That went to Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth.

Verstappen had been informed to look after his tyres by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, something the Dutchman seemingly didn’t listen to.

He provisionally set the fastest lap on his first full lap after his second pit-stop, before Horner seemingly intervened.

Horner revealed that Verstappen’s race engineer actually took the “mickey” out of him for not wanting Verstappen to push for the fastest lap, which would’ve completed a perfect weekend.

Article continues below

“No, I could see what was going on and ‘GP’ was taking the mickey out of me saying ‘why not?’,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“And I think we’ve done enough this weekend, the sprint race, a one-two finish, I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardise that signing-off into the summer break. Plus the fact it was a pretty high marker that Max put down on what was supposed to be a gentle out-lap!”

Despite missing out on the fastest lap point, Verstappen still increased his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 125 points over Sergio Perez.

His win in Belgium was his third in a row at the track, whilst it marked his eighth consecutive victory of the season.

READ: ‘You’re a dirty man’: Max Verstappen makes sexual innuendo

Overall, the 25-year-old has claimed 10 wins from 12 races in 2023, with Red Bull having won all 12.

He now has a four-week break until his home race at Zandvoort, where he’ll be targeting a third win in a row at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Nobody seems capable of stopping him currently, not even his team-mate in the same car.