Christian Horner has promised Nicholas Latifi ‘a lifetime supply of Red Bull‘ after his crash inadvertently helped Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to win the Formula One World Championship in Abu Dhabi.
The Williams driver, 26, became involved in a brief skirmish with Haas rival Mick Schumacher in the closing stages of the race, before his car crashed heavily into the barriers to bring it to an abrupt end.
And while Latifi was left to rue his mistakes, he actually ended up playing a key part in Verstappen’s famous win over Hamilton on Sunday as the officials were left with little option but to deploy a safety car due to the sheer amount of debris on the track.
This gave Verstappen enough time to return to the pitlane and change to soft tyres, which ultimately allowed him to close the gap on Hamilton after F1 race director Michael Masi made the controversial decision to allow lapped cars to pass between them before the restart.
Verstappen waited patiently for the right opportunity, before seizing the moment to strike as Hamilton’s medium tyres started to wear thin.
And according to Horner, the Dutchman has the Canadian to thank for his timely contribution when his car hit the wall after the scuffle with Schumacher.
After the race he told Channel 4: “He’ll be getting a lifetime supply of Red Bull for sure.”
The 48-year-old also compared the incident to Vitaly Petrov’s famous duel with Fernando Alonso during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix back in December 2010.
Russian Petrov held up the Spaniard for an astonishing 40 laps to allow Sebastian Vettel to win the title for the first time, a move which saw the German become the sport’s youngest champion by four points in the process.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Horner said: “That just about sums up this year I think because I said I think I called it on commentary that it was going to need something from the racing gods for the last ten laps.
“Thank you Nicholas Latifi for that safety car, and I have to say with the stewards, we felt hard done by early in the race, but they did great to get the race growing again.
“But it’s been an insane competition, and for Max to win the world championship it’s not just about here, it’s about a whole year.
“And I have to say full credit to Lewis, he’s been a phenomenal opponent all year, he’s a great world champion, and that’s what makes it even more valid to win this.”