‘Strong Drive’ from Verstappen but Hamilton ‘Always had a Tenth or Two in Hand’ – Horner


Max Verstappen - Aston Martin Red Bull Racing - Marina Bay Street Circuit
Credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Christian Horner saw Max Verstappen secure second place in the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday, extending the run of podium finishes at the Marina Bay Street Circuit to nine for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.

The Dutchman initially lost second place on the opening lap to Sebastian Vettel but reclaimed the position through the pit stop cycle, and despite closing up at times on race leader Lewis Hamilton, he was forced to settle for second behind the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver.

“It was a very strong drive from Max today to finish second behind Lewis, achieving our ninth consecutive podium in Singapore,” said Horner.

“On the first lap he dropped a place to Seb in the drag down to Turn 5, but thereafter we managed to make the strategy work in order to jump Ferrari at the pit stop and get Max alongside Seb as he exited the pits.

“From then on, Max tried to put pressure on Lewis, but Lewis always had a tenth or two in hand.”

Horner said Daniel Ricciardo in the second RB14 was compromised by being stuck behind both Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Räikkönen in the running order, which left the Australian unable to better sixth at the chequered flag despite having pace that was strong enough for better.

“Daniel held his position at the start, but his race then became about tyre management and trying to go as long as possible in the first stint in order to give him the better Ultrasoft tyre for the second half of the race,” said Horner.

“Despite setting fastest laps as he caught Bottas and Raikkonen it was impossible to get close enough to overtake and it’s frustrating that sixth was all that was on the table for him today.”

One positive for Horner on Sunday was to see both drivers finish the race, six races after the last time both Verstappen and Ricciardo were able to see the chequered flag in the French Grand Prix at the end of June.

“It’s encouraging to get both cars to the finish for the first time since the French Grand Prix and it’s been a very strong weekend in the garage from all the guys and the Renault technicians to try and solve the driveability issues.”