Damon Hill reckons Christian Horner is feeling the pressure of Formula 1 title fight

Throwing jibes at Toto Wolff, the Qatar marshals and even Damon Hill is, according to the 1996 World Champion, a sign that Christian Horner is feeling the pressure.

This season, Red Bull are engaged in a bitter rivalry with Mercedes for the championship titles.

Max Verstappen has the advantage in the Drivers’ standings, up by eight points over Lewis Hamilton, while Mercedes are five ahead of Red Bull in the Constructors’.

But while the first half of the season was, at least compared to now, relatively amicable, the war of words between Horner and Wolff has descended into barbs as both have had digs at the other’s personality.

Horner, though, has not stopped there.

In Qatar, he was officially warned by the FIA for criticising a marshal after Verstappen had been penalised for ignoring yellow flags in qualifying.

Hill feels that is because the pressure is getting to the Red Bull team boss.

“There’s definitely pressure and anxiety – it’s getting so close and so tight,” he told the PA Media news agency.

“All that hard work and there must have been times this season when they (Red Bull) thought ‘this is doable’ and when you see the gap closing, I wouldn’t say it creates panic in the ranks but it must be exhausting.

“So the stresses are starting to show.”

But it is not just Horner who is throwing out comments – Wolff also has said his fair share towards his rival team boss.

Hill continued: “The tension between the two team bosses was something I’ve not seen before.

“I mean, it usually took place probably in phone calls and in Bernie’s (Ecclestone) office years ago or something.

“It’s publicly probing for the weak point and the weak spots in people’s persona and that was slightly uncomfortable to watch, but then I suppose it’s understandable.”

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Hill’s comments about Horner come after the Briton accused the former F1 driver turned pundit of being biased against Verstappen.

Horner told The Telegraph: “We’ve got a British driver going for a record-breaking World Championship, and Damon obviously has never been a fan of Max…if you talk to the Dutch then Max can walk on water.

“That’s just the way things are reported. And, you know, sometimes impartiality does get lost.”

But while the war of words off the track has at times distracted from the epic battle on it, Hill feels this is a season for the ages.

“I think this is a boom time really for F1,” said the 61-year-old.

“After the new management moved in there were some doubts as to whether or not they completely understood F1, but I think they have shown they understand something.

“This has been a great season. We haven’t had a season like this for a very long time in the points difference between teams going back over the last 10 years.

 

“This is really close and I can’t remember a season when the title contenders have led and then been behind and then led again and then been behind so often – is there another season when it’s swapped lead so many times? I can’t think of one.

“Maybe there is one more swap to go!”

 

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