Christian Horner has "no doubts" about who will come out on top if Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were given the same machinery in Formula 1. The Red Bull Racing team principal says the Dutch racer is not given enough credit for his superhuman effort to remain in championship contention in 2021 after Mercedes' new power unit gave them a clear pace advantage.

Verstappen won his maiden F1 Drivers' championship beating Hamilton in the final lap of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Dutchman was deserving of his title due to his consistency over the course of the campaign, but it was FIA race director Michael Masi's controversial call that gave him the opportunity to take victory at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Horner praised Verstappen for the level of performance he was able to get out of the car, and also reserved some praise for all of Hamilton's achievements in the sport during his 14-year career. However, the Englishman has no doubt as to who the better driver is at the moment, if they were to compete with the same machinery.

"You can't deny anything Lewis has achieved," Horner said, as quoted on Racing News. "He's one of the absolute greats and statistically the most successful in history."

"But you put Max and Lewis in that [Mercedes] car, and I have no doubt who would come out on top. Put Lewis in our car, and I also have no doubt who would come out on top," the Red Bull team principal added.

Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen won an epic season-long battle with reigning champion Lewis Hamilton ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP

"With Max anything is possible. We didn't expect to be competitive in Jeddah [at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix]. That's mainly down to Max. I don't think enough credit has been given to him, the way he has driven."

Horner also credited Verstappen for squeezing every ounce of performance from the Red Bull car during the course of the 2021 campaign to maintain his title challenge. Mercedes clearly had the superior package going into the final few races of the campaign, but the 2021 F1 world champion was relentless in his pursuit.

"Max has wrung every ounce of performance out of this car this year. And since the summer and Mercedes' upturn in speed, it has been Max who has kept us in this championship; the way he has driven.

"He's been absolutely outstanding. Sometimes that gets overlooked, what he is able to achieve in a car with less horsepower and less performance than his rival."

Christian Horner
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP