Horner praises Verstappen’s ‘incredible performance’

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Verstappen was the only top racer to start with the hard tire, and he turned it into a surprise race victory with a brilliant charging performance that got him a long first stint.He was eventually able to get on and out just behind Valtteri Bottas, whom he then passed. He took the lead for the last time later in the race when Lewis Hamilton made his second stop after a long intermediate stint.

“It was an incredible performance today,” said Horner. Sky Sports F1. “I mean, the pace of the race was beyond what we expected. We started out on this kind of reverse strategy, and Max was relaxing right at the start of the race.

“And the pace in the car, it was so easy today. And even after Mercedes objected and moved on to a tough new one, we were able to walk away, and at that point you think it’s really the game now.

Asked about Verstappen’s suggestion at the start of the race that he wanted to push and not drive like a grandmother, Horner said: “His grandmother has to drive pretty fast! We just got them covered today. And I think there is a lot to be understood from this race.

“The car worked great, with Alex as well, and the pace was right there. And then we changed strategy, because we were going to go hard, but we passed it in the middle to the middle to get rid of that tire, so we were basically on the same strategy as the Mercedes boys, and we were able to cover them. And whatever they had, Max could cover, so it was fantastic.

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Horner admitted Red Bull were surprised others didn’t try to qualify on the hard tire.

“What you have to remember is that the compounds went a little softer this weekend. So what was the red tire, the soft tire last weekend, was the average this weekend, and it felt really fragile to us.

“So we thought that if we could manage to make a lap in qualifying, and it was so tight yesterday, choosing to race with this hard tire again, we were surprised to be the only ones to have driven with this tire.

He also admitted that the higher pressures imposed for this weekend have been less favorable for Mercedes.

“It might just be, I mean, you see they have a lot of downforce on this car, more wings than we carry and they burned their tires about five laps after that first pit stop.

“And Max was still taking it very, very easily at that point, so there’s a lot to figure out. But you know the result is a victory, the 70th anniversary race here at Silverstone is incredible.

Asked about the prospects for a championship fight, Horner said, “He’s a formidable opponent. But, you know, we had a really good performance today.

“We beat them fairly and squarely, we beat them on pace and on strategy. And I think there is a lot of confidence that we will take from this racing weekend.

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