Red Bull denies Verstappen Monaco strategy stitch-up

Red Bull says that Max Verstappen's fury about losing out on a podium shot at the Monaco Grand Prix because of a strategy call was quelled when the team explained why it made him pit early on Sunday.

Red Bull denies Verstappen Monaco strategy stitch-up
 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Jean-Claude Biver CEO TAG Heuer
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
 Max Verstappen, Red Bull
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13

The Dutchman had been shadowing third placed Valtteri Bottas in the early stages of the race, and Red Bull tried to go for the undercut in a bid to leapfrog the Mercedes driver.

But it all went wrong for Verstappen when time lost in the pitlane allowed Bottas to stay ahead.

To make matters worse, teammate Daniel Ricciardo was able to produce quicker laps as he stayed out on old tyres before pitting, so managed to leapfrog both drivers to move from fifth to third.

Verstappen vented his frustration on the team radio, and made clear to Dutch television afterwards that he was far from happy with what happened.

"I didn't expect that we would stop that early," he said. "Even if we managed to get Bottas with the undercut, we were still going to end up behind [Carlos] Sainz so I didn't understand it very well.

"But okay, it's over now. I can talk about this for a very long time, but...I don't really know what to say. I'm incredibly disappointed."

Explaining the team's strategy call later on, Horner said the decision to bring Verstappen in early was prompted by the team seeing Sergio Perez having good pace on new supersofts.

"We looked at Sergio Perez's out-lap, which had been pretty impressive, and rather than just sitting behind Valtteri and not trying anything, we thought 'okay, there is some traffic coming up,'" said Horner.

"We could see the cars were quite badly affected by the traffic and we saw Ferrari take a bit of a hit in performance. So we went for the undercut.

"If the car had been square in the pitlane, if we had had a perfect stop, if we had a good getaway, we looked like we gave one second away in the pitlane, not on the stop – the pitlane itself – and that was the difference."

He added: "That would have been enough, combined with Max's out-lap, to have got the jump on Bottas. In turn Bottas covered us, as he was focused on Max.

"That opened up the opportunity for Daniel, giving him some free air which he exploited to good effect and managed to jump both the guys and achieve third place."

Horner said that Verstappen had listened to the team's explanation on Sunday night and accepted that the team had been trying to do its best for him.

When asked if it had been hard going through it with Verstappen, Horner said: "Not at all. After he got back here, he sat down and went through it calmly.

"Of course emotions are running high in the car and of course you would expect him [to be like that]. He has just seen his teammate come from behind him to being ahead of him and in the podium position, so of course he was excited on the radio.

"But having looked at the facts and understanding the circumstances of how and why these things happen, he could understand the scenario. Today it didn't work for him, another day it will go for him."

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