Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said he was surprised rival teams dismissed in qualifying the hard tyre strategy that helped Max Verstappen trounce Mercedes’ drivers at Silverstone.
Verstappen opted to run Pirelli’s white-rimmed hard compound in Q2 while every other top-ten team relied on the medium rubber to make the Q3 cut.
Verstappen was thus an outlier of sorts on the grid, but the hard-to-medium-to-hard combo worked to perfection for the 22-year-old who secured his ninth career win at Silverstone.
Speaking to Sky F1 immediately after Sunday’s race, Horner admitted it had been an “amazing performance” from Verstappen.
“I mean, the pace in the race was beyond what we expected,” he said. “We started on that sort of reverse strategy, and Max was just chilling out to the beginning of the race.
“And the pace in the car, it was just so easy today. And even after Mercedes pitted and went on to a new hard, we were able to pull away, and at that point, you think this is really game on now.”
Verstappen admits he didn’t see ‘incredible win’ coming
Horner revealed that Verstappen required a fair amount of convincing by his engineers before committing to the hard tyre qualifying strategy on Saturday.
“Obviously he had to buy into it,” Horner said.
“So we run the simulations, we come up with the risk and the reward. And we felt that if we just do the same as Mercedes following last week’s performance, we’d end up with the same result.
“So at least by running the hard, the theory was that [if] there was a safety car later in the race, we’d have potentially a grip advantage at the end of the race, but as it turned out, we actually had a pace advantage through the race.”