Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Strategy helped Red Bull beat “faster” Ferrari – Horner

2019 Chinese Grand Prix

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Red Bull were able to beat one of the quicker Ferraris thanks to their strategy in the Chinese Grand Prix, says team principal Christian Horner.

Max Verstappen finished between the two Ferraris after the team pushed their rivals into committed to two-stop tyre strategies.

“We sort of triggered off the two-stop for everybody else,” Horner explained. “Our rationale was pretty clear, early on we decided that the most upside we might have was in the event of a two-stop, particularly of there’d been a Safety Car around and others had elected to stay on the one.”

After Verstappen made his second pit stop Ferrari quickly brought Sebastian Vettel in and later made a second stop for Charles Leclerc too. The latter came out behind Verstappen and was unable to catch him.

“I don’t think we had a faster car than Ferrari today,” said Horner. “So our best way of beating at least one of their cars was going onto the two-stop. That then sparked some discussion between Sebastian and his pit wall as to whether they were going to stop or not, but in the end they covered, and Mercedes ended up having to cover him, and then Leclerc got hung out to dry a little bit. So for us P4 was the maximum today.”

Red Bull corrected a set-up error on their car after the Bahrain Grand Prix and Horner said they were clearly more competitive as a result.

“Definitely I think we’ve made a step forward from Bahrain,” he said. “We were definitely more competitive this weekend.

“You look on the overlays, particularly sector one, sector two we were in good shape. Sector three we’ve got some work to do but I think we’ve got some upgrades and so on coming soon that will help with that. So generally on that side a positive weekend.”

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15 comments on “Strategy helped Red Bull beat “faster” Ferrari – Horner”

  1. He means Ferrari’s strategy. They just gave away seconds with the VET-LEC swap. And of course never considered the prospect of pitting Leclerc for the fastest lap therefore lost an other point. (just like in AUS) Ridiculous team, Ferrari.

    1. Totally agree, Ferrari’s strategy helped Red Bull today.
      When the front leaders pitted again I thought they would leave Charles out maybe another 5-8 laps? (Unless I am missing something here??)

    2. I think so too. Although I have no idea what was going on there but I think Ferrari’s strategy helped RBR today. Could they manage to finish at 3rd and 4th position? So the best scenario for the team could be trying to maximize their result.

    3. @f1mre Leclerc didn’t have a fresh set of the softest compound left for the race anymore, though. Yes, neither did Gasly, but his set was effectively still new as he had only used it for one or two slow cooldown laps, not for a single flying lap.

      1. @jerejj I assume Leclerc would have compensated for those couple of tenths. He is clearly much quicker than Gasly so far this season.

    4. Agreed. I did not expect a second pit stop for Leclerc, at least at that moment. Verstappen was some 12 seconds behind, with 12 laps remaining. Vettel had not option to reach Bottas, so I think the best would have been to keep Leclerc in DRS zone with the help of Vettel. If it didn’t work, pit Leclerc for the fastest lap, at the same moment Gasly did.

      1. Ver was in front of lec, not behind!

        1. Sorry for my bad english and explanation. Verstappen (2 pit stops) was 12 seconds behind Leclerc (1 pit stop) at lap number 42. See the lap charts and times here:

          1. Your right but Max was catching Leclerk just 2 rounds before the end So they pitted again and hopend to pass Max on a faster tyre still i thought it was better if they pitted 5 rounds earlier.

  2. Red Bull were able to beat one of the quicker Ferraris thanks to their strategy in the Chinese Grand Prix, says team principal Christian Horner.


    Have to say I’m a bit baffled by Ferraris strategy today, they let Leclerc become cannon fodder for no reason. They could have pitted him much earlier, Vettel would have gained a place and Leclerc could have easily held off Verstappen.

    1. I’m a bit baffled by Ferraris strategy today

      @johnrkh – “… today”? Really? :)

    2. Do not think so. Before the 1st pit-stop VER was reducing the gap to the Ferraris. They decided to pit VET immediately after VER, but in just 2 laps the undercut worked against the 2nd Ferrari. If it wasn’t LEC, would have been VET. Ferrari did nothing wrong, 1 of their cars would have ended up behind VER after the 1st pit-stop, no matter the strategy adopted. They realized that if they pit LEC after VET, he would end up behind VER, so they decided to extend his 1st stint and fit softer tyres for the (shorter) 3rd stint. Unfortunately for Ferrari, the overall pace between their cars and 1 of the RBRs was too similar to be able to avoid the undercut for both cars.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        14th April 2019, 17:45

        @mg1982 That’s utterly untrue!

        Lap 3 the gap was 1.4s between Vettel and Verstappen, that grew to 2 seconds and ultimately to 2.7s just before the swap. The gap to Verstappen was at the maximum just before the swap!

        Only after Vettel got ahead did the gap to Verstappen start to come down steadily. They lost half a second over those laps before Verstappen stopped.

        Plus you ignore the remark from @johnrkh that they simply could have stopped either Vettel or Leclerc earlier to prevent the undercut. Instead of sacrificing Leclerc as a pawn to aid Vettel. It’s just such a disgusting move to totally destroy Leclerc’s race like that. Utterly disgraceful from Ferrari again.

        1. Gap was 1.2 in the lap before pit stop

  3. GtisBetter (@)
    14th April 2019, 15:55

    Well, gasly was better, but 0.5s of Verstappen is just to much. Lets see if he can pick it up next race

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