Red Bull's Christian Horner analyzes Max Verstappen's race performance in Singapore
Red Bull's team principal, Christian Horner, reflects on Max Verstappen's performance at the Singapore Grand Prix and speculates on what might have been.
Verstappen's ambitious strategy was compromised by a late Safety Car, leaving him to carve through the field and finish in fifth place. However, Horner believes a different race scenario could have put Verstappen in contention with the front-runners.
Verstappen and his teammate, Sergio Perez, started the race outside the top 10 on the Hard compound tires, aiming for a late Safety Car opportunity. Unfortunately, the Safety Car emerged on Lap 20 due to debris on the track, favouring Medium tire runners who could pit without significant time loss.
While Red Bull extended their stints, both Verstappen and Perez struggled for pace after the restart.
Horner shared his insights to media, saying, "I think, ironically enough, if we'd had a standard race, the strategy that we had with Carlos holding the front up because of the degradation on those Hard tires, Max would have definitely come into play with the pace he had at the end of the race."
He highlighted that Verstappen's late surge showed promise, but the free pit stops provided by the Safety Car hindered their race strategy.
Verstappen's impressive late-race charge saw him recover from 15th place to finish just two-tenths behind Charles Leclerc in fifth. Notably, this marked his first fifth-place finish in a Grand Prix since the 2019 British GP, ending an 87-race streak without such a result.
Looking ahead, the Formula 1 season continues with the Japanese Grand Prix, scheduled for September 24th. The Suzuka Circuit, the venue for this iconic race since 1987, has witnessed the crowning of 13 World Champions.
The circuit's challenging features, including the 'S' Curves, the 130R corner, and the famous Degner Curve, make it a favourite among drivers. The upcoming race promises excitement and skilful driving on this legendary track, keeping Formula 1 fans on the edge of their seats.