Max Verstappen lacks nothing compared to Hamilton & Vettel - Red Bull boss Horner

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Max Verstappen is now just as good as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel and his rivals should "fear" him in 2019, Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes

The Dutchman is expected to be the spearhead of the Milton Keynes outfit's renewed push for championship success this season, following Daniel Ricciardo's departure to Renault.

And based on the results he produced, with 10 podiums in the final 15 races, Horner is sure Verstappen can now step up to the plate and consistently challenge Formula 1's top two stars.

“Max, if you look at his performance in the second half of [last] year, was the second-highest points scorer to Lewis,” he pointed out to Reuters.

“I don’t think he lacks anything that they have if we can provide him with the tools to do the job.

“I think he’s probably the driver that they fear the most.”

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Losing out on a possible victory in Monaco after crashing in final practice last year was seen as the catalyst for Verstappen changing his approach, however, the Red Bull chief thinks it goes a little further than that.

“I think his maturity has increased; we saw that during the course of last year. He’s just much more rounded through experience," he explained. “He’s just in a better place to be able to deal with the pressures that are placed on him.”

Horner concluded by also mentioning the FIA public service Verstappen completed at the Marrakesh ePrix last month, suggesting his day working with stewards had had an effect on him.

“He came back and went, ‘Crikey, these guys have got difficult decisions to make. Whether you penalise or not’," he revealed. “I think that was actually a useful exercise for him to see the other side of the fence.”