Horner had doubts: "Didn't think Verstappen was going to pull that off"

24-10-2021 22:03
F1 News
Horner had doubts: Didn't think Verstappen was going to pull that off

Christian Horner admits he doubted Max Verstappen's chances to win the United States Grand Prix. The Dutchman held off a charging Lewis Hamilton on fresher tyres during the final ten laps of a thrilling race in America. Verstappen demonstrated his class. 

Surprise win

"I really didn't think he was going to pull that off with Lewis on eight-lap fresher tyres. We were down to the canvas on the first set of tyres came off. To manage the tyre to make sure he had enough left for the last six or seven laps. Lewis you know he's so strong, he's gone long and brought himself an advantage. To lose here would've been really painful, Max held on and did a great job," Horner told Sky Sports after the race. 

Hamilton took the lead at turn one, but Verstappen got back ahead after an early pit stop. Red Bull opted for track position over fresh tyres during the race. This turned out to be the right move. Horner talks through the decisions made on the pitwall. 

"He managed the race really smartly. We had good pace on the medium. The first stint, Max was able to put pressure on Lewis. Our car on that tyre was better than theirs. Lewis was starting to slide and we were starting to overheat the tyre so we went for track position and gave us more work to do. We were convinced they were looking at the undercut at the end of the second stint. We know they had good degradation, we knew we were running out of tyres so we banked the track position but that meant the last 10 laps were crucial," Horner added.

Verstappen now has a meaningful lead in the World Championship, and the sport heads to Mexico and Brazil which traditionally have favoured their car and the Honda engines. 

"Honda have been doing a great job, the engine is delivering and the chassis is delivering. The engineering team and support in the UK has come together. Today has been a sweet result to beat Mercedes here. It's session by session, race by race. Keep doing the basics well. Stay sharp and reliable. Five to go, there's a couple that will be strong for us and a couple that will be strong for them so it'll be really tight," Horner concluded. 

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