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Horner: ‘The more Toto gets wound up, the more fun it becomes’

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is enjoying his rivalry with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, saying the more the Austrian gets “wound up”, the “more fun it becomes”.

Mercedes and Red Bull are in a head-to-head battle for this year’s constructors’ title, while their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, are fighting for the drivers’ title.

The close battle has led Wolff and Horner to engage in a war of words through the media at times this year — Wolff called Horner a windbag at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix — but Horner insist he is enjoying the personal battle with his opposite number.

“Of course this is the first time Mercedes, and the first time Toto has even been in a situation where he has been challenged,” Horner told Channel 4 ahead of last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

“He’s been in a situation where he came into the team, the drivers were already signed, the engine was already in place.

“He’s done a great job to keep that team winning, but there has been no real competition. So this is the first time it’s a true scrap, a true competition.

“And there is a respect I think between the teams, but I think we operate in very different ways. I very much want to be on the front line. I sit on the pit wall with the strategists and the engineers, Toto will sit in the garage next to the press guy.

“So they are different functions, they are different roles, they are different outlooks. But of course the competition is fierce. I think that’s the key thing about this championship.

“We are loving the competition and the more Toto gets wound up, the more fun it becomes.”

Following the result of the Russian Grand Prix, Hamilton moved two points clear of Verstappen in the drivers’ championship and Mercedes moved 33 points clear in the constructors’.

Red Bull was last in a position where it could challenge for titles in 2013, and Horner said his team was relishing the fight.

“Mercedes are beatable but it’s only if we are at our very best that we can succeed,” he added. “We’ve proved that we can do it and we have proved to ourselves that we can do it. We have got ourselves into that position.”

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