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Red Bull had to put Verstappen on mediums: 'Otherwise not that quick'

Red Bull had to put Verstappen on mediums: 'Otherwise not that quick'

13-11-2022 07:35 Last update: 10:13


Max Verstappen may have a difficult race ahead of him at Interlagos. Peter Windsor's analysis shows that the RB18 is eating up the tyres. During the second free practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, it already became clear to Red Bull Racing that the soft tyres were not an option for the Dutchman in the sprint race.

It was a big surprise when Verstappen appeared at the start on medium tyres on Saturday, while the rest of the field had opted for the softs. At the start of the race, the Red Bull driver was able to hold his second position and pass Kevin Magnussen for the lead, but halfway through the sprint he was overtaken by George Russell, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton.

"What a choice that Max Verstappen, the double world champion, had made for this race. At that moment, you think, has everybody else got it wrong? If Max is doing this, he must have so much in hand in that Red Bull. He’s not going to take any risk with the tyre degradation on the soft tyre," Windsor said in his analysis on YouTube.

Red Bull was forced to try something else

The answer can be found in the data from FP2. Verstappen did a long run there on the soft tyres, but it is clear from the lap times that the Dutchman was a lot slower than the competition. While Verstappen is in the high 1:16s, Hamilton and Russell recorded 1:15s at the start of the stint. The Ferrari drivers are also a bit faster than the RB18 on the softs.

"If you are Adrian Newey and Red Bull, you’re thinking: what is going on here? It was that run on the soft tyre that made Verstappen and Red Bull think, if we go into the race right now we ain’t going to be that quick, so we might as well do something different. I think the decision was purely as a result of what we’re seeing there on those long runs. Tyre degradation obviously hit Max in the sprint race, and I wonder whether this is going to be an issue tomorrow, with presumably everybody starting on the medium tyre from the get-go," said the Formula One expert.

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