Red Bull Racing’s team principal Christian Horner praised Max Verstappen today, despite losing out of victory late on in the race. Verstappen, who started in second, made the jump on pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton after Turn 1 and claimed race lead, something no one else besides Hamilton has done since 2018.
“It was a great start by Max and he was fully committed into Turn 1 and grabbed the opportunity to take the lead – it was full Max Verstappen spec. He positioned the car fantastically well, hit the brakes later and ran the car wide to take the race lead.
“Unfortunately we had a slow pit stop after a miscommunication meant Max pitted a lap earlier than we expected but fortunately quick thinking and fast reactions from the pit wall and the pit crew meant we lost minimal time and recovered incredibly well.
The day didn’t go quite as expected when Hamilton pitted for a second time to go onto fresher tyres. Verstappen didn’t pit and was losing time on Hamilton every lap and was eventually overtaken on Lap 60.
“We couldn’t have done anything differently today, Lewis and Mercedes were quicker than us and able to follow Max so closely without hurting their tyres.
“We were able to hold track position but when the field opens up to the degree it did behind, Lewis gains a free pit stop which leaves you in the horrible position as race leader trying to brave it out to the end instead of sacrificing track position. Once Lewis caught up and got past, all we could do with Max was go for the Fastest Lap which he achieved.
Horner was also impressed with Sergio Pérez, who done well to climb to fifth from a starting position of eighth, claiming a great haul of points for the team.
“Checo did a good job to recover to fifth after qualifying eighth yesterday, making a bold move on Daniel around the outside of Turn 1, and banking solid points for the Team. It’s full focus on Monaco now and continuing work back at the factory to find more performance and catch up to Mercedes.”