Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020

Verstappen’s tyre had 50 cuts in it – Horner

2020 British Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen may not have been able to finished the British Grand Prix without a second pit stop, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said.

The team brought Verstappen in for an extra pit stop shortly before the end of the race, giving him the chance to set the fastest lap and claim a bonus point.

By doing so, he missed out on the opportunity to take the lead of the race when Lewis Hamilton suffered a puncture on the final lap. However Horner revealed Verstappen might have suffered a similar fate had he not also pitted.

“The tyre that came off the car had about 50 little cuts in it,” said Horner. “So it’s been through debris.”

Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to suffer a puncture in the closing stages of the race. His team mate Valtteri Bottas did too, as well as Carlos Sainz Jnr.

“If we’d stayed out, we could have lost a second position with the same failure as Lewis, Carlos Sainz and Bottas,” said Horner. “So it was right on the limit. We’ll be grateful to what we’ve got rather than what we potentially lost.”

While the team may have missed an opportunity to win the race, Horner said they should take satisfaction from another second place finish for Verstappen.

“You can either look at the glass being half-empty or being half-full. We’ve benefited from Bottas’s issues given they had a quicker car from ours today. We very nearly had the same issues ourselves.

“If Hamilton had the issue a lap before we’d all be putting ourselves on the back. So it’s never good to benefit from others’ misfortune but I don’t think we can be upset with what happened today.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “Verstappen’s tyre had 50 cuts in it – Horner”

  1. Exactly

    And again – my theory that dropping pressure from slowing down caused tyre failures, and indeed Max could have ended the same.

  2. Shocker horner trying to hype max up

    1. @carlosmedrano ai, Max again. Carlos on “tilt” ;)

      Btw, he did what he had to do. Keep the Mercs in sight and make the best of it.
      When he made his free pit stop he was about 10 seconds behind the Merc pair. Great work!!

    2. Shocker! @carlosmedrano doesn’t even understand the content of the article.

      1. At least the guy isn’t calling everybody a racist for once

    3. @carlosmedrano It’s probably more like Horner covering for Red Bull mistakes. They lost the win because of the pit stop, but now he can explain that it wasn’t a mistake.

      1. @F1oasaurus it was never a mistake at the time it happened, they did what they needed to do given the information available, i.e. that failures were happening, max had reported vibrations and they had a big enough gap to Leclerc for a pit stop to reduce puncture risk to Max. It only gets judged as a mistake when you know what happened after that point but as none of the F1 teams employ Dr Who for their strategies it was impossible to know that.

        1. @wonderbadger So what? It’s still a mistake even if it is only so in hindsight.

          1. Not by any normal definition of the word “mistake”.

            Do you make a mistake every week by not buying the correct lottery ticket?

      2. Ahh, good ol’ KRX, oops, F1oclown & CarlosMefrusto being their usefull clueless self again!
        Guess Verstappen drove another of his vintage masterclass drives again, keeping the Mercedes’ honest in a car that really shouldn’t be doing that and showing once agian why he is without a doubt the greatest driver on track, hahaha.
        Keep on crying.

        1. why all the hate? i honestly thought the pit stop was a good idea in hindsight, if Max had got a puncture he wouldn’t even have finished on the podium

  3. This all thing sounds like one of Bernie’s ideas that let’s put an exploding tyre on every car and set them of on random. :)

  4. Honestly, I thought similarly like Mr. Horner when Max came into pits late in the race. It is better to take a safe 2nd place than risking to leave the race with 0 points. Well done, Red Bull! The only case, when Max should have stayed out, – if this was the last race and the Drivers title was on the stake.

    1. But why? There was a big risk of Hamilton suffering the same consequences as Bottas. Red Bull got 2nd place. But what is it worth? This might have been their only shot at P1 this year. The 2nd place will soon be forgotten. P1 in the constructors is an unfair fight. P3 in the drivers championship is the Max they can get. And both P2 in the constructors and P3 in the drivers are a safe bet, regardless of a possible DNF today.

      Imo, they should had taken the risk to keep running, hoping Lewis would suffer the same fate as the 2nd Mercedes.

      Mercedes on the other hand, should had pitted the moment Red Bull gave them the air to do so.. I couldn’t understand either teams decision today.

      1. To finish the race first, first you have to finish.

      2. @spafrancorchamps Hamilton had only one lap to go then.

      3. Just playing the percentages @spafrancorchamps. It depends on how much risk you’re willing to take. The question is, “if you took the risk for the win and end up with 0 points would you feel worse than I’d you took the pit stop and are guaranteed 19 points but could have won”?

        There are a lot of races left. The Mercs have great pace but don’t seem bulletproof. There is opportunity for Red Bull to sort out its aero issues. Covid is still around, merc drivers could end up missing races. there are plenty of opportunities.

      4. @spafrancorchamps You are using the 20/20 perfection of hindsight.

        And I disagree that P3 in the Driver’s is the ‘Max’ they can get. I think VB is once again showing to be unlikely to compete with/against LH, so Max is no doubt focused on VB as his inevitable obstacle to getting to LH and his only realistic target for the time being (of course LH is the target too). But that being the case, they made the right decision with what they knew at the time, and snatched 19 points rather than 0, and VB is only 6 points ahead of Max. Now we see who can unlock more from their cars, VB or MV. And we just saw that Mercs quali advantage sometimes not nearly translates to the same size of advantage on race day.

        Merc may be dominating, or at least LH is, but I am having a blast watching Max max it out. We should all be. There’s no show between LH and VB after all.

  5. Red Bull had no idea that Hamilton’s tyre was going to fail so close to Bottas’s so pitting to grab the fastest lap point was the logical and safest way of maximising an inherited 2nd place. Considering they were looking at 3rd with no chance of moving forward, that must have seemed lucky. Truth is on outright pace the Red Bull was no match for the Mercedes and the only way they were going to win or have a chance of beating one or both of them was by misfortune ahead – that’s a grim reality.

    1. @rocketpanda Agreed. They could have had zero points from Max as well, especially if he had needed to keep pushing to apply pressure, rather than pitting.

  6. Definitely the right call to pit, even if it potentially cost them the win. They would need a series of circumstances to come true to make it worth staying out:

    1) Hamilton gets a puncture.

    2) Hamilton’s puncture happens at a part of the track that loses him between 10 seconds (the original gap to Max) and 35 seconds (the gap to Max after his pitstop). If it loses him less than 10 seconds Hamilton wins either way, and if it loses him more than 35 then Max would have caught him even after pitting (approximate gaps).

    3) Max’s tyre doesn’t puncture when he stays out.

    Seems like too many coincidences required to make it worth the gamble.

    1. When Verstappen pitted, I fully expected Hamilton to pit as well, especially considering what just happened to Bottas. That he didn’t is the biggest surprise to me and it almost cost Mercedes.

      1. Did Max pitted at the end of Lap 51 of 52 lap race? If so, then Lewis at that moment had started the final lap.

        1. No he pitted at the end of lap 50.

        2. Hamilton was on the last lap. Not really much point in stopping then still.

          1. He could have stopped, Verstappen entered on lap 50, Hamilton passed the pits in lap 51 and then suffered the blowout in the last lap.

            I’m sure Mercedes will chamge the procedure after this and pit next time (if ever) this happens. Verstappen allowed him a free pitstop but without opportunity for the fastest lap.

      2. Mercedes are very risk adverse to pit stops and its cost them in the past too. I’m sure they’ll admit this week that they should have pitted Hamilton for the last lap as it was a free stop with 10s margin. Such a dumb call to not pit him when the Red Bull team let them off the hook.

    2. @keithedin but it wasn’t even a gamble to stay out. The gamble was to pit, which they SHOULD have done 10 laps earlier when there was a chance to chase Bottas. They would’ve won with that pit stop.

      1. @neiana They obviously thought the win wasn’t possible because, as you suggested, they had the gap to Leclerc much earlier than that when they actually pitted. Agreed if they pitted earlier then the attack on Bottas may have been on, he would still have been favourite to get fastest lap because nobody else in the top 10 had a gap for a “free” pit stop. On the other hand Bottas did have enough of a gap to react to that stop and pit to cover it off (if he was ready to settle for second place).

        1. @3dom In that case, had Red Bull pitted Verstappen once the gap was available, that could have given us a Merc 1-3 had they pitted Bottas, where Bottas would have won and Verstappen come second but Hamilton still have tire trouble. I’m sure the strategist had some reason or another to do what he did. It’s just unfortunate that this now really hurts the championship fight and turns it into a championship off-handed remark.

  7. Nice PR save there Horner.
    Knowing the risky initiatives red bulls generally take, they are 100% kicking themselves behind closed doors.

    1. Of course they are. They know they made the wrong decision. Now they are excusing themselves. Brundle and Crofty said Marko was furious.

      1. @spafrancorchamps Can you provide the quote where ‘Brundle and Crofty said Marko was furious?’

    2. So you assume Horner is lying about Max’s tyre then?

      1. Max also said directly after the race his left front was shaky and looking bad. 1 of the reason they pitted

      2. Duh.
        Redbull always rely on counter strategy, aka luck, to win anything.
        Merc is way too out of their league.

        This one they didn’t see coming, and pitiful pathetics went for a fast lap when the win was there for the taking.
        Lol Lol lol.

  8. Pitting was probably the safer choice. Their tires may have failed as well with all that debris out there.

  9. Barney the Dinosaur
    3rd August 2020, 0:30

    It was the wrong decision, but hindsight is 20/20…they figured Hamilton was not going to have an issue.

  10. Vestrappen’s car had no engine, no wings, tyres had 5 million cuts by a pen knife…and ooooh he drove the car to a magnificent win.

    Horner is bigging up this totally unproven overhyped adolescent who was spanked by Daniel Ricciardo despite all resources aligned to optimise the car for the brat.
    Zero wins, zero WDC in 666 Seasons and Completely useless Driver.

    1. Finally, proof that alternate dimensions exist, and you’ve been there. Tell us, what’s it like?

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