Horner praises “phenomenal” Verstappen performance at Silverstone amid challenge from McLaren

Spread the love

Polesitter Max Verstappen uncharacteristically lost the lead of the race on the first lap—much to the delight of the Silverstone crowds who cheered on home hero Lando Norris as he swept past.

Although Verstappen eventually passed Norris for the lead and claimed yet another victory, his slow start was quite puzzling.

Speaking to the media after the race, team principal Christian Horner explained: “I don’t know. I need to hear what Max has to say and what the engineers say, but historically here second place has tended to get the better start.

“Lando, and particularly Piastri, had a flyer, but it was then a question of just making sure we stay cool and then Max was able to make the pass a few laps later.

“They had a great pace today. Lando got a good start, and then it was about sort of settling into the race. Max was able to stay within the DRS, was able to pass Lando, and then it was tough to break that DRS effect. But once he’d done that, he was then able to build a lead that at one point I think got to about nine seconds just before the safety car.”

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

According to Horner, George Russell, who started the race on used softs (and managed to complete just under 30 laps before making the switch to mediums), impressed with his pace and low tyre degradation. This prompted Red Bull to rethink their strategy.

“We’d originally expected it to be a medium-hard race, but because of the performance of Russell on the soft, it changed our strategy.”

“Particularly with the safety car with 15, 16 laps to go, we felt that the soft tyre would give Max the best opportunity to break that DRS effect. Which he used to great effect. I think already at the end of the first lap he was close to two seconds ahead.

“It’s the type of thing that he and his engineer would’ve discussed before the race. I think he caught them all napping a little when he did go [on the restart], and was able to then build a gap quite quickly.

“And then it was a question of managing the race thereafter. So, phenomenal performance from him today—fastest lap as well, so he got the hattrick.”