Max Verstappen’s “greater respect” for Charles Leclerc over Lewis Hamilton has led to incident-free 2022 season: Christian Horner

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has admitted that he is far happier with the nature in which this year’s constructors’ championship battle has panned out with Ferrari compared to last year’s tussle with Mercedes.

Last year was full of drama as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen immersed themselves in one of the most competitive and controversial title fights in recent years.

Fans were divided over the consistent bickering that took place between Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Horner, with both admitting that they had allowed emotions to get the better of them.

While there were a number of incidents spread out across the year, the most controversial one took place during the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

It looked like Hamilton would go on to win a record eighth world championship until a late call from FIA race director Michael Masi allowed Verstappen the opportunity to claim his maiden title.

Mercedes has struggled in 2022

Mercedes. Credit: planetf1.com

This year has been rather difficult for Mercedes, who have failed to come to grips with the new technical regulations.

As a result, neither Hamilton nor George Russell have won a single race till now.

Ferrari, meanwhile, has shown far greater progress with drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both proving their credentials from time to time.

Had it not have been for some strategical blunders on the part of Ferrari, the race at the top of the drivers’ standings may well have been far closer than it is.

A big difference, though, has been the fact that there have not been as many dubious calls and the racing has been free of any major incidents between Leclerc and Verstappen.

Having begun their careers in junior racing together, both drivers have maintained a great level of mutual respect regardless of how results have panned out.

Horner has admitted that this is the major reason behind him not “missing” the battle with Mercedes and praised the manner in which Ferrari has conducted itself.

“Those two drivers have grown up with each other since they were kids, there’s a lot of respect between the two of them,” he said.

“There’s not the needle perhaps, or the tension that there was last year, I think the racing has been sensational this year and hopefully long may it continue.”

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