Max is the man Hamilton fears the most, says Horner

Formula One Testing

Max Verstappen is the driver who Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel fear will disrupt the duo's current front-running act in F1 says Red Bull's Christian Horner.

Verstappen started the last campaign in miserable fashion but ended it with a flourish and won two races in Austria and, of course, Mexico on the way to a fourth-place finish, just two points behind Kimi Raikkonen.

His maturity was on display during the second half of the 2018 season, when he was the second highest point scorer on the grid, only behind Lewis Hamilton.

"Red Bull Technology has been working with Honda for 12 months, so we've had a good look at their evolution and they're on a good way", he said. I think it's there now from both sides - the team and the engine supplier.

Verstappen was the sport's youngest driver when he made his debut with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso as a 17-year-old and the youngest ever victor at 18 at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Horner said the years would eventually take their toll on Hamilton and Vettel and saw Verstappen - the main man at the team after Australian Daniel Ricciardo left for Renault - as heir apparent.

"I think his maturity has increased, we saw that during the course of past year". He is more worldly, more experienced.

The 21-year-old was forced by governing body the FIA to attend a race of the all-electric Formula E series and observe the stewards.

Ahead of the launch of Red Bull's new auto on February 13, and the start of pre-season testing in Spain on February 18, the team still does not know where it stacks up against its main opposition.

He added: "He came back and went, "Crikey, these guys have got hard decisions to make".

However, Verstappen is not so sure the new Red Bull-Honda will be fast enough to beat Mercedes and Ferrari right from the beginning of the season.

"I think it's a very different scenario". It is exciting, although that will really come when I sit in the vehicle.

"An bad lot of frustration was born out of that.so I think with Honda, it being a true technical partnership, there's much more collective responsibility from both sides rather than being a customer-supplier scenario".

"We will try to win as many races as possible", said Verstappen.

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