Verstappen was a vocal critic of the race’s emphasis on the off-track show, holding a passionate two-minute plea to explain why he felt the event was lacking the passion of a traditional race track.
His comments were appreciated by many fans on social media, not just his own supporters but also who followed Lewis Hamilton and others.
While Verstappen wasn’t overly comfortable with all the additional activities the drivers were asked to perform, his willingness to don Red Bull’s Elvis Presley-themed overalls and sing ‘Viva Las Vegas’ on the in-lap is something Horner believes commands respect.
“Max would’ve thoroughly enjoyed that race because that is what he loves and that is what he is here for,” Horner said.
“The fact he won it in an Elvis Presley suit and was singing Viva Las Vegas on an in-lap, whilst you have to respect that it doesn’t sit comfortably with him, some of the razzmatazz that goes around F1, it is quite refreshing that he is prepared to speak and give an honest opinion.
“I think he also reflects that it is an important event for F1 and I think the race and the way it delivered today is something you could certainly see he enjoyed.
“He wasn’t judging the race. I think he feels a little uncomfortable with the show element, the Super Bowl effect, that has been applied here.”
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 3rd position, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, on the podium
When asked what Verstappen’s reaction was to the Elvis suit idea, Horner explained: “We showed him that weeks ago, it was something he was aware of and bought into.
“So, to have both of our Elvises on the podium was a great result.”
After winning his 18th race of the season, Verstappen said he couldn’t back out of attempting to sing Presley’s Viva Las Vegas hit after being “put on the spot” by his boss, and admitted the race itself had been thoroughly enjoyable.
“I always expected it to be a good race,” he said. “It was just – like I said before – four long straights, low speed corners, you don’t lose a lot of downforce, so that has never been my issue. But yeah, [the race] was fun.
“Christian put me on the spot so I cannot leave them hanging, so I have to sing. But I definitely need some lessons.”