Red Bull was trapped in "all to lose" situation in Hungary
Red Bull says there was nothing else it could have done to try to help Max Verstappen win the Hungarian Grand Prix, with the Dutchman trapped in an ‘all to lose’ situation that was unable to counter the ultimately quicker Mercedes car of Lewis Hamilton.
But Mercedes elected to switch Hamilton to a fresh set of medium tyres so he could make an end of race charge. Verstappen did not have enough of an advantage to cover that move, so he had to try to hold on at the front with older rubber.
In the end, the Dutchman did not quite have enough pace because Hamilton was able to close a 19-second deficit and swoop in to the lead with four laps to go.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is adamant that his outfit did not get its strategy wrong, and says its biggest handicap was having to fight a Mercedes car that was quicker in the race.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he had considered stopping twice like Hamilton, Horner said: “No. It was all to lose.
“If we had stopped and they had done the opposite, then they had what looked like a little bit more of a pace advantage. They had six lap fresher tyres and I don’t think we would have caught Lewis at the pace he caught us.
“So it is frustrating that there were no other drivers in the mix because if he had dropped behind a Ferrari or even his teammate, then it would not have been an option open to them. But that is the way it goes sometimes.”
Horner said Verstappen’s understanding of the situation he was in explained why he was so calm after the race, despite having lost out so close to the chequered flag.
“I think he has driven with great maturity,” said Horner. “To lose a race with four laps to go is hugely frustrating, but he gets the bigger picture. He knew the situation we were in and he understood how the race was being read.
“To the layman you could think that Red Bull got its strategy wrong. We didn’t. Mercedes just had a quicker car and the ability of a free stop opened up for them.”
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