MAX VERSTAPPEN is a better driver than Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull boss Christian Horner previously claimed.
Brit chief Horner – married to former Spice Girl Geri – reckons fellow Englishman George Russell's outing in Hamilton's car in 2020 proved Verstappen is superior.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton, 38, was KO'd by Covid for the Sakhir GP with then Williams driver Russell deputising in his place.
Russell qualified in second just 0.026s behind the other Mercedes driven by Valtteri Bottas, and was leading the race by ten seconds before problems in the pit and with his tyres cost him a maiden win.
Horner, 49, told RacingNews365 in 2021: "I think Verstappen is the best, and George Russell’s performance at Mercedes confirmed that for me.
"Max and Lewis stand out for me but, while we should definitely not be blind to what Hamilton has achieved, he does have a good package at his disposal.
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"While Max has to get more out of his car.
"At Mercedes, a Williams driver can qualify himself directly on the front row and Russell almost won the race.
"However, if at Red Bull someone has to get into Verstappen’s car, for example if Max had corona, then nobody will reach his level."
Verstappen finished third behind the two Mercedes' in 2020, but has won back-to-back titles since then, with Red Bull's car now streets ahead of their rivals.
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The Dutchman also won the opening race of the 2023 campaign, cruising to victory in Bahrain on Sunday.
And George Russell has tipped Verstappen to win EVERY RACE this year.
It could be another difficult year for Hamilton and Russell.
Toto Wolff admitted Mercedes may be forced to SCRAP their new Formula One car if they want to win titles again.
The Merc chief then labelled the Bahrain GP one of his "worst days of racing" after watching Verstappen cruise to victory.
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