Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has pinpointed a “tough outcome” during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend as the turning point in Max Verstappen’s season.
The Dutch driver endured a difficult start to his 2018 campaign when he received hefty criticism for crashing in all of the opening six races of the year.
In Monaco, while heading the timesheets in FP3, Verstappen push too hard on a hot lap, which resulted in him biffing his car into the barriers – leading to his mechanics not being able to fix it in time for qualifying.
To couple with his costly crash, team-mate Daniel Ricciardo took full advantage of his error as he secured pole position and would go on to win the race the following day, while Verstappen finished P9 from the back of the grid.
Asked if he could pick a turning point in Verstappen’s season, Horner said as quoted by Sky Sports: “Really since after the Monaco Grand Prix.
“That hurt him quite badly because he’s obviously extremely quick in Monaco – right up until the point he crashed!
“That was a tough outcome for him and since that point he has driven incredibly well.”
Verstappen, who turned 21 at the Russian Grand Prix, has taken five podiums, including a victory in Austria, since Monaco. Now in his fourth season in Formula 1, Horner has noticed an increasing maturity in his driving.
“If you look at his season it has been very, very strong,” he added. “He’s driven some great races, so I think he’s maturing.
“He’s obviously got quite a reasonable amount of experience now and he’s performing at an incredibly high level. You can see that with the barometer of his teammate. They’re two very competitive guys, and he’s driving extremely well.”