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The Australian Formula One driver made the surprise decision to swap teams ahead of the new season as he looked to step out from Max Verstappen's shadow.

Hamilton won 11 races for Mercedes on his way to the title while four-time world champion Vettel of Germany finished as runner-up with five victories, ahead of Verstappen, who won two grands prix past year and ended the season fourth overall.

"If you look at his performance in the second half of the past year, he was the second highest points scorer to Lewis", Horner told reporters as preparations for the new season continue.

That was the assertion of his Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who told reporters on Tuesday the team could "provide him the tools to do the job".

Verstappen was the sport's youngest driver when he debuted with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso as a 17-year-old and the youngest victor at 18 at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

"His maturity has increased, we saw that during the course of previous year", said Horner, though, other than the unnecessary clash with his teammate in Baku, many still question his actions in Brazil, not least the subsequent altercation with Esteban Ocon. "We've seen in the past year that depending on the circuit, those penalties can have minimal consequences".

"He's just much more rounded through experience".

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"He's just more worldly, more experienced".

The 21-year-old was forced by governing body the FIA to attend a race of the all-electric Formula E series and observe the stewards.

But according to the Dutch driver, his new Red Bull RB15 - the first of the team's cars that will feature Honda horsepower - already feels good on the simulator. Not that he was particularly impressed by Formula E, but he came way from being with the stewards and said: "'Crikey, these guys have got hard decisions to make in terms of do they impose a penalty or do they not'". It is exciting, although that will really come when I sit in the auto.

"There are three teams that stand out from the rest of the field: Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull".

Team boss Horner is quoted by Speed Week: "Honda is having a strong winter".

"An bad lot of frustration was born out of that.so I think with Honda, it being a true technical partnership, there's much more collective responsibility from both sides rather than being a customer-supplier scenario".

"[My goal is] try to win as many races as possible".


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