Horner surprised by Mercedes strategy


Time and time again we are told that there are no points on Saturday only on Sunday, and in focussing on pole position on Saturday afternoon, Christian Horner believes Mercedes 'missed a trick' by not following the example of Max Verstappen with at least one of its cars.

Though the German team locked-out the front row of the grid, they did so, like almost all the other cars around them, on the yellow-banded medium tyres. However, Max Verstappen used the hards in Q2, and though he would lack the medium's pace in the opening stages of the race he would have durability. It was a gamble that paid off handsomely.

Jubilant that his team had scored the first non-Mercedes win of the year, Christian Horner admitted surprise that Mercedes didn't attempt to qualify at least one of its cars on the hards.

"What you have to remember is the compounds have gone a step softer this weekend," he told Sky Sports. "So what was the red tyre, the soft tyre last weekend, was the medium this weekend, and that felt for us really fragile.

"So we thought if we could manage to put a lap in qualifying, and it was so tight yesterday, electing to run again with that hard tyre though, we were surprised that we were the only ones that drove out on that tyre."

However, such is the W11's advantage in terms of downforce, many believe the higher tyre pressures introduced this weekend would have played against the Black Arrows.

"They've got a lot of downforce on that car," he agreed, "more wing than we're carrying and they've blistered their tyres within about five laps after that first pitstop. Max was still taking it very, very easy at that time, and so there's a lot of stuff for us to understand.

But the result's a win," he added, "the 70th anniversary race, here at Silverstone is unbelievable. They're a formidable opponent. But we've had a really strong performance today. We beat them fair and square, we beat them on pace, and on strategy. And I think that there's a lot of a lot of confidence that we'll take out of this race weekend.

"It was an amazing performance today," he said of Verstappen. "The pace in the race was beyond what we expected. We started on that sort of reverse strategy, and Max was just chilling out to the beginning of the race.

"And the pace in the car, it was just so easy today. And even after Mercedes pitted and went on to a new hard, we were able to pull away, and at that point, you think this is really game on now."

When asked about the youngster's refusal to manage his pace, responding that he didn't want to drive "like a grandma", Horner said: "His grandma must drive pretty quickly!

"We just had them covered today," he added. "I think there's a lot for us to understand from this race.

"The car worked fantastically well, with Alex as well, and the pace was right there. And then we switched our strategy, because we were going to go hard, but we switched it to the medium in the middle to get rid of that tyre, so then we were essentially on the same strategy as the Mercedes boys, and we were able to cover them. And whatever they had, Max could cover, so that was fantastic."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone, here.

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Published: 10/08/2020
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