Red Bull F1 driver Verstappen has 'sixth sense' in wet, Horner says

Max Verstappen showed his "sixth sense" for wet-weather driving in Formula 1 again during the Chinese Grand Prix, his Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes

Red Bull F1 driver Verstappen has 'sixth sense' in wet, Horner says

Verstappen started a lowly 16th in China after an engine problem in qualifying meant he was unable to make it out of Q1.

Chinese Grand Prix driver ratings

But the Dutchman again showed his class in tricky conditions on intermediate tyres, passing nine cars during the opening lap and moving up to third before the track dried enough for an early switch back to slicks.

The 18-year-old has previously starred in the wet, including in last year's Brazilian Grand Prix, in which he charged from 16th to finish third.

"He appears to have an almost sixth sense in the wet," said Horner.

"He doesn't seem intimidated by it in any way, and is prepared to explore all the boundaries of the circuit available, to find where the grip is.

"There was one move he made on the outside of Turn 6, where he went straight down the outside of two or three cars and then cut back, and it was very, very impressive."

Horner believes his young star is "right up there now" among F1's best-ever drivers in the wet.

"It is not a coincidence now," he said.

"You can see Brazil wasn't a one off, and that maybe good old Bernie [Ecclestone]'s sprinkler system would be good for us.

"The way he has grown up driving go karts in the wet on slick tyres and stuff like that, he has developed a real instinct and feeling.

"I remember Sebastian [Vettel] being fantastic in the wet. The first race he won [with Red Bull in China in 2009] was outstanding but the great drivers always stand out in wet weather conditions.

"We saw Lewis [Hamilton] at Silverstone in 2008 and the great drivers always do make a mark for themselves."

Verstappen eventually secured the final podium position in China, holding out team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, despite battling understeer and slipping away from eventual victor Hamilton as the conditions dried.

Red Bull has shied away from team orders, and Horner says he left the end of the race to a straight fight between his drivers.

"Daniel ran slightly more downforce than Max, so wasn't quite as quick on the straight," he said.

"But he was quicker in the middle sector, so it was horses for courses.

"Earlier in the race they had raced each other firmly but fairly and I made the decision, let them race those last 10 laps.

"They knew from the discussions we have had previously, and the only instruction I gave from the pit wall, was they just respect each other which they did.

"So while they do that we will happy to continue to allow them to race."

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