Red Bull’s Verstappen Pits Late at Austrian Grand Prix

    In a dramatic turn of events at the Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull boss Christian Horner has revealed the team’s strategic reasoning behind ignoring Max Verstappen’s plea to pit earlier. The Dutchman looked comfortably in control, maintaining a healthy nine-second lead over McLaren’s Lando Norris in the second stint.

    However, Verstappen began to complain about a loss of grip as he navigated through backmarkers, with Norris closing the gap. Despite the driver’s animated demands to pit sooner, Horner explains that the decision to prolong the stint was made to guard against a potential Safety Car situation.

    “We then pitted on the same lap as McLaren, and there was a sticking left-rear nut,” Horner said. “And the gunman just had to go on it twice, so I think we lost, I think it was four seconds.”

    This wheel gun issue put Norris on fresh Mediums right behind Verstappen, leading to the subsequent Lap 64 clash at Turn 3. Horner believes that without the pit stop error, Verstappen would have had enough in hand to manage the final laps and defend against Norris.

    “Probably we would have been better off with new Medium versus a new Hard, but hindsight’s a wonderful thing,” Horner admitted. “But I mean look, the pace of the car has been very strong this weekend. We’ve had two poles, he’s led all but nine laps of the race, the sprint race yesterday, he’s extended his lead in the championship.”

    The late-race pace drop-off for Verstappen drew comparisons to the Imola race earlier this season, but Horner denied any underlying concerns, attributing it to the tyre offset against Norris.

    Despite the disappointment of not securing the win, Horner maintains that it has not been a “totally disastrous” weekend for the team, with Verstappen extending his championship lead.

    ๐Ÿ”— Source