(Motorsport-Total.com) – There was a lot of discussion about Ferrari’s strategy after the Hungarian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc switched from mods to the new solid tires on his second stop, but the tougher compound was unusable in the cold conditions in Budapest, ruining Leclerc’s race.
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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner also commented on the strategic decision to lead Ferrari after his student Max Verstappen won the race from 10th on the grid with an impressive chase.
When asked if he expected Ferrari to cover Verstappen’s faltering attempt on lap 39, he said: “No, because I thought Ferrari was looking for a different strategy at the time.” So it was assumed at Red Bull that the Scuderia would drive a second longer in order to finally switch to soft tyres again.
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“They were trying to secure their position on the track,” Horner adds. “Then when they pitted Charles and took out the steel frame, we realized victory could be possible for us.”
However, Horner does not want to follow suit, even though Red Bull implemented the much better strategic alternative: “I think we should focus on ourselves. Ferrari has a very fast car and two good drivers.”
“We expected them to be very strong today and I think the cold temperatures might have affected them a bit. But they surrounded themselves and that opened the door for us strategically.”
Horner after Red Bull’s strategy change: Hard tires would have been ‘ridiculous’.
After a tough qualifying session on Saturday, Red Bull initially wanted to pick an alternative strategy with Max Verstappen and start the race on the hard tires themselves. But the low temperatures and mist caused the Dutchman to have problems with grip in his lap on the starting grid, even on the soft tyres.
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As a result, the strategy was completely reversed, as it was difficult to get the temperature in the tires with the stiffer compound, so I started on soft driving.
“We actually wanted to start with the solid tires because based on the data, it would have been the better option for us,” Horner said. “But the drivers couldn’t get the temperature up on the soft tyres, so it was silly to start with the hard tyres, especially since there’s some rain in the air as well.”
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“So we switched both drivers on the starting grid to the soft tyres, which forced us to stop twice. But we made it today and it worked great,” said Horner, who did not expect this result before the race.
“Our pre-race analysis showed that fifth and sixth places would be within the range of possibilities. Winning from 10th exceeded all of our expectations,” he says.
How was the weather for Red Bull
According to the Red Bull team boss, the difference was made by the first assignment of soft tyres, which had an advantage in cold conditions. Strong headwinds at the start and finish respectively also helped, making overtaking easier than it has been in the past.
“It was important to get past all the cars at first because we expected to stumble,” Horner says. “But with the different weather and strategy, we had the grip advantage that we were able to use and so we were very fast behind the Ferraris and Mercedes.”
In addition to the great strategy, Horner also praised Verstappen for catching up: “I think the start was the first time I saw him so cautiously, he slipped a little bit in the middle of the field, but then his pace was unusual.”
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