Red Bull surprised no other team tried to qualify on hard tyres

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said he was surprised no other team tried to qualify for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on the hard tyres.

Every driver who reached Q3 on Saturday used the medium rubber, but Max Verstappen opted for the hard tyre. “Our best bet to take on the Mercedes, we felt, was to do something different,” said Horner.

Verstappen qualified fourth for the race, with the Mercedes drivers and Nico Hulkenberg ahead of him on medium rubber.

“By starting on the hard tyre – which as you remember was last week’s medium – that was a crucial factor and we were surprised that we were the only team to have a crack at that yesterday in Q2,” said Horner.

“We run the simulations, we came 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,” Horner added. “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 back end of the race.

“But as it turned out, we actually had a pace advantage through the race.”

Mercedes suffered with blistering throughout the race. Verstappen was able to run a long first stint, which got him ahead of Lewis Hamilton, and quickly passed Valtteri Bottas for the lead after his first pit stop.

“Definitely our pace compared to Mercedes was stronger than last week,” he said. “Conditions were slightly different, pressures were slightly different, so a lot of data for us to understand because we had a very dominant car today and we were able to run longer with greater pace.”

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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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11 comments on “Red Bull surprised no other team tried to qualify on hard tyres”

  1. A legitimate victory for Verstappen today, after almost lucking into a win last week.

  2. I too was surprised, though with the amount of blistering Mercedes had even on the hard, maybe for them it wasn’t worth it, but for at least some of the other teams, like maybe McLaren I wonder why they didn’t split the strategy at least.

    1. For it to work they have to qualify in q2 with hards which even redbull al

      1. almost failed to do so. How can mclaren qualify anywhere near into q3

  3. The race decided by tyres.
    What a shame


  4. It was a risk for Verstappen to qualify on those tires, he barely got through to Q3 in 8th place if I remember correctly. Not sure how many others would have been able to pull it off, certainly Albon couldn’t. The Mercedes (and maybe RP) could have made it, but the rest… not so sure.

  5. Frankly I was surprised by Mercedes not trying to do that as well

  6. Horner has a short memory. Whenever they were beaten in the glory years the excuse was those behind could take the risk. And when you are pretty much guaranteed third spot as Max is; you can also take the risk. Others generally can’t.

    1. @riptide Perhaps Horner knows that. Why does it have to be that he has a short memory? But as to risk? There’s no reason to think Merc would have been taking a risk doing what RBR did. They possibly would have run away from Max or at least kept him behind, on the same strategy as Max. After all, he started 4th. That said, Merc sure were eating tires no matter what.

  7. To be fair I think Max would have won even if he’d started on the mediums, the RB was so much kinder to its tyres.

  8. Only 2 teams could have done it, and in Mercedes’ case, they didn’t have the race tyre wear to make it work as a first-stint option.

    Red Bull’s superior tyre management won the day.

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