'Need a miracle': Red Bull's staggering confession in F1 title fight

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Pictured here, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen heads into the final race of the season equal on points with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton. Pic: Getty

Team principal Christian Horner says Red Bull is putting all its eggs in Max Verstappen's basket ahead of the final Formula One Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen heads to the winner-takes-all Grand Prix equal on points with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton, following the seven-time champion's victory at last weekend's Saudi Arabian GP.

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Red Bull trails Mercedes by 28 points in the constructors' championship - and while mathematically possible - Horner concedes it's highly improbable that his team could finish on top of the Uk-based F1 heavyweights.

“Constructors, we’re on the back foot, we need a miracle to win that,” admitted Horner. 

As far as the drivers' championship goes though, Horner says the team will do everything in its power to help deliver Verstappen a maiden world title.

“We’ve got one more shot to have a go at winning this [driver’s] title with Max. Somebody, either Lewis or Max, will come out on top after next weekend. 

"The driver’s is where the prestige is. It’s not where the money is but it’s where the prestige is. That’s the one people remember.”

If for some reason both Verstappen and Hamilton finish out of the points in Abu Dhabi then the Red Bull driver would be crowned world champion because he has more race wins this season (nine).

Horner concedes that Hamilton has the momentum after winning the last three races in a row but has backed Verstappen to continue to "fight like a lion" until the very end.

“To be honest Abu Dhabi, they’ve changed again so it’s another variant to the circuit,” Horner said. 

“We’re going to come out of this weekend and go to Abu Dhabi tied on the world championship, leading by the virtue of race wins. It’s whoever finishes ahead. 

"It’s a straight fight as it has been all year. Mercedes have won three in a row, Max won two before that.

“Who’s going to come out on top? I have no idea. Obviously we’ve seen performance in recent races, the form is with Mercedes but again Max has fought like a lion this weekend. He’s given it everything.”

Stewards make call on Verstappen-Hamilton contact  

Verstappen and Hamilton were embroiled in a number of controversies during a drama-charged Saudi Arabian GP, with stewards finding the former at fault for a collision at turn two.

An investigation by race stewards ultimately found that both drivers could potentially have avoided the collision, but it was Verstappen's braking that was judged to be 'erratic' and the main contributor to the pair coming together.

Max Verstappen copped a 10 second time penalty at the Saudi Arabian GP for a collision with Lewis Hamilton. Pic: Getty
Max Verstappen copped a 10 second time penalty at the Saudi Arabian GP for a collision with Lewis Hamilton. Pic: Getty

The penalty did not change the outcome of the race, with Verstappen comfortably ahead of third-placed Valtteri Bottas by well over the ten second penalty.

Verstappen had earlier been handed a five-second penalty during the race for leaving the circuit and gaining an advantage - the exact penalty the Red Bull team was trying to avoid by letting Hamilton through in the first place.

Speaking after the race, Red Bull team boss Horner insisted the blame lay at Hamilton's feet.

“I don’t know what Lewis was doing because Max was trying to give the place up as instructed by Race Control, he lifted and you can hear that, it was clear we were trying to give the place up and we’d informed Race Control,” he said.

“I don’t know if Lewis didn’t want to pass before the DRS zone, but it was very strange to have him drive straight up the back of Max. We got a five-second time penalty, I thought it was on the harsh side, they both went wide and were racing. Max has fought like a gladiator this weekend and given it everything.”

with agencies

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