A last minute decision by Red Bull could very well have made the Taurus team win the unlikely victory in the Formula 1 Hungarian GP, held this Sunday (31). At the Hungaroring, Max Verstappen started from 10th place and managed to cross the finish line in first – something that, in the view of boss Christian Horner, was only possible thanks to the change of strategy already on the starting grid and, also, to the teamwork. .
“I can only focus on our performance and today we did a great job. We changed our strategy on the grid. Our two riders found it difficult to warm up the soft tires on the way to the start and we were about to start the race on the hard compounds. The softs lasted much longer than anticipated, and at that point, we committed to making two stops: soft, medium, medium. The key moment for us in the race was when we saw that Charles (Leclerc) was going to switch to hard compounds,” explained Horner.
“When we saw the white stripes, we really thought we had a chance – and Checo was fantastic. He was on another strategy and immediately allowed Max to get behind Leclerc. Then he (Verstappen) did a 360º on the track and that ended up heating up the tires even more.”
In addition to having to climb the peloton – a mission made much easier by Ferrari, it must be admitted – the current world champion also had to climb another mountain to win in Hungary. Horner used a problem with Verstappen’s RB18 during the race, which had not yet been revealed, to justify his hesitation to claim victory this season. After all, reliability issues can never be ruled out.
“We had a difficult Friday. Saturday too, despite the feeling that we had managed to fit the car into a much better window. So a very competitive race – but we had a clutch problem, which Max had to manage. Once we got that sorted out, it was his best race ever,” he began.
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“It’s healthy leadership, but there’s still a long way to go – and things can start to go wrong. We had the reliability issue with the clutch today, which could have easily culminated in an abandonment. We were within 12km of a qualifying failure, too. There are still areas where we can improve. Ferrari still has a fast car and Mercedes is on the mend.”
The bull boss, of course, couldn’t help but give the German team a slight nudge. With the FIA (International Automobile Federation) technical directive to limit porpoising postponed to Belgium, Horner questioned the need for intervention – as clearly the W13 no longer bounces that much and has gained performance. Red Bull’s concern, in fact, is with the definition of the rules for the next season.
“Maybe there is no need for the technical directive in Spa. It will have no effect on us – but we need a quick clarification of what the rules will be for 2023. Hopefully this week,” he said.
Finally, Horner praised Red Bull’s internal work – highlighting the figure of Hannah Schmitz, the team’s chief strategist – for the result achieved at the Hungaroring. The statement went on and the Taurus boss explained the statement by consultant Helmut Marko, who after a disappointing performance by Sergio Pérez in the classification in Hungary, stated that the Mexican “had already gone on vacation”.
“We had a great team strategy here. We had Hannah running the pit wall. We all support female empowerment. She’s fantastic under pressure – but it’s not just one person’s job. The pit stops, once again, were incredible. The work of the entire team is a pleasure to see,” she said.
“I made a joke to Helmut (Marko) that ‘Checo’ had already gone on vacation, and he told all of you. Look at the second half of the ‘Czech’ race. Without that virtual safety car, he could be fighting for the podium. He was one second per lap faster than George (Russell) and Carlos (Sainz). Now, there will be a ‘reset’ during the mid-year break, and he will understand what didn’t work out for him in the last few races. It will come back stronger”, concluded Horner.
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