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Horner: Great things to come from Verstappen in second half of 2017

Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen's bad luck in the opening half of the season will only serve to energise the teenager for the second half of the year.

Verstappen has scored just 67 points to teammate Daniel Ricciardo's 117 this year and has retired from five of the opening 11 rounds of the season. Three of the retirements were directly linked to reliability issues -- brakes in Bahrain, battery in Canada, engine in Azerbaijan -- while first lap collisions outside of his control in Spain and Austria accounted for the other two.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen. Dan Istitene/Getty Images
Horner puts the run of poor results down to bad luck and believes Verstappen will be stronger in the second half of the year.

"When we introduced the car as RB13 there was a bit of a debate, should we call it 12a or should we use the number 13 and then we came up with the slogan that '13 is lucky for some and unlucky for others'. You could say it's certainly been more lucky for Daniel and it's been unlucky for Max, but his driving -- he's just continued to evolve.

"He's driving at such a high standard now and the bad luck that he endured in four successive races or whatever it was prior to Silverstone, it was just massively unfortunate. In each one of those races he was in a great position. Second in Montreal, he was in a great position in Azerbaijan, again in Austria.

"It's been very frustrating for him but he's handled it well and I think it's broadened his shoulders as a 19 year-old. He's still a young guy, he hasn't done a huge amount of car racing since he stepped out of karts three or four years ago. I think he'll actually come out of the other side stronger for it and I'm pretty confident the second half of the year, for him, you'll see some great things."

Horner is hopeful Red Bull will be competitive at the next round at Spa-Francorchamps when a large amount of Verstappen's Dutch fans are expected to travel to the race.

"Spa is going to be a huge race for Max. There will be a huge amount of Dutch and Belgian fans supporting Max. Hopefully we can be reasonable there. Austria we were hugely competitive, particularly on Sunday, on Saturday we are going to struggle. I can imagine us being fifth and sixth on the grid on a Saturday but quicker than that on a Sunday. The great thing about Spa is that you have the ability to overtake there. Monza I am trying not to think about!"

Author: Laurence Edmondson
Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/20348309/horner-great-things-come-verstappen-second-half-2017

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