Red Bull team boss Christian Horner insists his rivalry with Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff is not personal, but admits it is “easy to pull his chain”.
Horner and Wolff’s outfit’s were embroiled in a season-long title fight last year that went down to the final race in Abu Dhabi, with Red Bull coming out on top in a controversial season finale.
The pair had a series of heated exchanges over the course of the year, while their drivers Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton battled on-track for the drivers’ crown.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Horner accepted the rivalry between both teams was “intense”, but says he relished pushing Mercedes all year long after their dominant run in the V6 hybrid era.
“It’s not personal in any way,” Horner said. “Toto is Toto. He’s done a phenomenal job with Mercedes.
“He’s obviously come into the sport from a very different background to me, he’s very much from a financial background.
“And it is very easy to pull his chain, and you can see it. Sometimes it affects him.
“So of course when you’re competing, and last year was so intense and of course it was the first time he’d ever been in that situation, it’s always interesting to see how people react.
“When they’re smashing headphones, you can see that you got to them.”
Horner, who has headed Red Bull’s F1 project since 2005, is on the verge of leading the team to a first drivers’ and constructors’ double since 2013, with Verstappen and Red Bull leading both title races after the first half of the season.
Asked if he felt he was a better team boss than Wolff, Horner said: “That’s not for me to judge.
“I’m focused on what I’m doing, you guys are the judge and jury. I’m focused on what I’m doing and he’s focused on what he’s doing.”