Back in 2013, Christian Horner was invited to a lunch at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and Prince Philip.
It was at the time of the heated feud between his Red Bull drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, which exploded during the Malaysian Grand Prix of that year.
Webber was leading Vettel in the closing stages of the race and the drivers were told to hold station with a coded message, ‘multi 21’. But Vettel ignored the order, battled Webber for the lead and eventually won the race before one of the most awkward podium ceremonies in F1 history as the pair barely acknowledged each other.
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Horner was having to play peacemaker at the time and must have been expecting a break from the world of F1 politics and driver bust-ups ahead of his lunch date with the Royals. However, to his amusement, Horner was even quizzed on the fallout between his drivers by Queen Elizabeth II, who was in her late-80s at the time but still up to date with latest in news and sport.
“She loved her horses obviously, that was a real passion of hers. But I remember being invited to a lunch at Buckingham Palace by herself and Prince Philip,” Horner recalled in an interview with Sky Sports F1 after the second practice session at the Italian Grand Prix.
“There were very few of us there and she’d obviously been well briefed. We sat down for lunch and she said ‘what going on with your drivers? Why don’t they get on?”
Horner went on to pay tribute to the longest-reigning monarch in history.
“She was just the most remarkable person, who immediately put you at ease. She had a sense of humour as well. She’ll be sorely, sorely missed,” he added.
“It’s so sad because she’s been the stability for such a long time. It’s almost unimaginable her not being there. She’s on every coin, every pound note. It’s a real shame.”
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