Formula 1: Maurizio Arrivabene and Christian Horner trade blows
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Red Bull chief Christian Horner reportedly left Mercedes staff ‘stunned’ by visiting their camp in the immediate aftermath of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Tensions ran high last weekend when Max Verstappen pipped Lewis Hamilton to the F1 Drivers’ Championship in the final race of the season. Details are still emerging about the day, which wasn’t without controversy.
Hamilton had entered the race looking to win a record eighth F1 title and move ahead of Michael Schumacher in the history books.
But the Brit was denied, with Red Bull reigning supreme.
Verstappen trailed for the majority of the deciding race in the Middle East yet, with just one lap to go, was able to surge over the line to claim the prize.
Immediately after the race, tempers ran high with Mercedes unsuccessfully trying to get Verstappen’s triumph overturned – seeing two separate protests dismissed by the FIA on the day.
Now, the Daily Mail say Red Bull team principal Horner rocked staff working for the Silver Arrows when he headed to their HQ.
It’s claimed Horner went there to try and find Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff to shake his hand but, in the end, was unsuccessful.
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Witnesses are said to have compared the scene to that of when a stranger ‘walks into a Western saloon’.
Mechanics were described as ‘open-mouthed’ and it’s said that staff actively stopped what they were doing as they watched Horner stroll upstairs looking for his fellow principal.
In the end, though, Mercedes had no choice but to accept the result.
Verstappen will now be the main man to beat next year, with the Red Bull star looking to build on the first title of his career.
Some have suggested Hamilton may now retire in the aftermath of the defeat, though it’s still likely he’ll return for one last crack at history.
Speaking to the Telegraph recently, Horner opened up on the race in Abu Dhabi and took a subtle dig at Hamilton for ‘moaning’ about the outcome.
“Naturally, we’re going to roll the dice and go for it,” Horner said.
“Max just refused to give up. You didn’t hear him moaning on the radio. Every lap, he drove his heart out, then suddenly a chance presented itself.
“When you look at his pass at Turn Five, I don’t think Lewis was expecting him to go through there. He didn’t even defend.
“He was waiting for him more into Turn Six, but Max took him by surprise. Classic Verstappen.
“Even entering that weekend, I felt Max deserved it for how he had driven, how he had applied himself, how he had kept fighting under the most intense pressure and scrutiny.
“Even when he didn’t have, in the second half of the year, the best car.
“Max has driven with such determination and spirit.
“He just wasn’t going to roll over and let this go. It’s a life lesson: that if you keep striving for something, anything is achievable.”
Wolff, meanwhile, has opened up on Mercedes’ decision to drop their protests over the outcome of the race during the week.
“We decided together that we would protest and wanted to carefully consider a possible appeal,” said the Mercedes chief.
“We decided together not to do this. The FIA would have been a defendant and a judge at the same time.
“This releases a feeling of powerlessness. Just like on Sunday in the last lap, that’s how I felt as a child.
“Lewis and I are still completely disaffected. My heart and soul still cry with every pore.
“When the principles of sport are disregarded and the stopwatch is no longer worth anything, one begins to question whether all the work, blood, sweat and tears are worth it.”
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