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Feisty Verstappen's radio rants impress Red Bull boss

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Barcelona (AFP)

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said he had no problem with Max Verstappen's feisty words with the team on his way to second place behind Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

The Dutchman, who confirmed his second position in the title race behind the six-time champion, produced several rants on team radio as he raced round the Circuit de Catalunya.

"What's incredible is he's got so much capacity to have that conversation," said Horner, amazed the boisterous Verstappen could find the mental space to drive and argue with the team at the same time.

"It's like he's on a Sunday afternoon drive!"

Verstappen said he was not apologetic for his robust words during the race as he complained about his tyres and moaned about his team's misguided messages to him.

"Do you want me to repeat it again? This tyre is dead," said Verstappen as he asked for an early pit-stop.

Later, he added: "How about we just focus on our race first instead of looking to Lewis?"

The team replied calmly, telling him to "get his head down" and concentrate on the race.

"I just wanted to pit," Verstappen explained.

"I think we should not really look to the Mercedes cars and we should do our strategy, but then we pitted and got onto the medium tyre and basically from then onwards it was fine.

"We were slower than Lewis, but I could keep Valtteri (Bottas) behind so everything worked out quite well. It was good to split the two Mercedes. I didn't have the pace like Lewis, but I'm happy with second."

- All about Bottas -

He said it had been critical to pass Bottas at the start, but added he expected a close battle with him and Mercedes in the weeks ahead.

"We keep trying to improve," he said. "But they keep pushing too so we'll see."

Horner said he was not upset by Verstappen's radio rants.

"He obviously doesn't have the visibility of the whole picture that the strategists have and he's ambitious, competitive and he's pushing."

At the finish, Hamilton was 24 seconds clear of Verstappen with Bottas third.

"Our race wasn't about Lewis today," said Horner.

"It was about keeping Valtteri behind us -- Max got everything he could out of the car and to split Mercedes, who had a quicker car than us today, I don't think we could have got more than that."

Verstappen is now 37 points behind Hamilton in the championship and Horner, like many fans, said he hopes to see some close battles between them.

"I think they are the two in-form drivers of Formula One and there's very little to choose between them," Horner said.

"It's interesting. You have Max, who's 22, Lewis who's 35, and they're at different stages of their career, but I'm hopeful in the coming races that we see the two of them go head to head.

"It's what the viewers would love to see. It's what the teams would love to see and I think it would be good for F1."

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