Max Verstappen proved he was right to disregard an instruction from his engineer not to risk damaging his tyres, said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Horner explained why the team initially urged Verstappen to take care. “We know that following a car closely you do damage your tyres,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “We knew that Mercedes would pit because they were on that softer compound, to begin with.
“We wanted to make sure that we could make hay while the sun was shining and have tyres left.”
However Verstappen’s sensitivity to his rubber allowed him to stay close without hurting his tyres, said Horner.
“He’s got a great feeling for these tyres. We’ve seen him on numerous occasions, managing the tyres incredibly well.”
“He was really protecting those tyres through the high-speed corners and was well placed for when they did pit,” Horner added. “And he was absolutely right. He managed that lap incredibly well. Likewise on the medium tyre when we ran it.”
Verstappen ran a short, six-lap stint on medium tyres before switching back to the harder rubber for the run to the flag. By this time he had both the Mercedes behind him, including Lewis Hamilton, who delayed his final pit stop to have fresher tyres for final laps.
“At the end of the race he had pace in hand just in case Lewis started to really come back at him, aggressively on his much fresher tyre,” said Horner.
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2020 F1 season
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- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers