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Christian Horner has revealed he is “still having nightmares” over Jenson Button’s last-lap win at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix and feared a similar incident may have afflicted Max Verstappen in yesterday’s race. Button secured victory from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel on the last lap a decade ago after some late pressure paid dividends.
The Briton was all over the Red Bull star and eventually stole the lead in the dying stages after the German dropped his wheels on a wet patch and lost control halfway around the lap. In an almost identical finish yesterday, a late safety car set up a thrilling conclusion with Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz battling for the win with just a handful of laps remaining in a scrap which almost mimicked Button’s battle.
Horner admitted he was begging Verstappen not to “lock a brake” and spin out under pressure but the Dutchman held on to secure an “impressive” win. Horner said while speaking to Button on Sky Sports F1: “We know with you what happened 10 years ago.”
Tongue-in-cheek, Button cheekily responded: “What happened? I can’t remember?”
Horner added: “I remember it very well, I’m still having nightmares about that. It’s all too easy to lock a front wheel down into the last hairpin there or in that first sector. I kept thinking about what happened with you a few years ago, I was thinking ‘Max, just don’t lock a brake’.
“He was absolutely clinical today, really, really impressive drive.” However, the late race safety car appeared to help Verstappen’s chances after a Red Bull error almost dented his chances of victory.
The Dutchman was expecting to come out in second place after his second stop and then close down Sainz on fresher tyres. However, a bad call saw him come out behind Lewis Hamilton with the pair enjoying their first on-track battle of the season.
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Verstappen even admitted he may have found it “tough” to close down Sainz and secure the win in the closing stages. After the race, he said: “I think, overall, they [Ferrari] were very quick in the race, so it would have been really tough for me to close that gap to the end, even on fresher tyres.
“But yeah, it was really exciting at the end. I mean, I was giving it everything I had. Of course, Carlos was doing the same. You know, following is tricky around here. I could see he was pushing, charging, pushing.
“But of course, naturally when you’re under DRS it’s a bit easier to charge. So yeah, the last few laps are a lot of fun.”
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