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Why Verstappen didn't pit like Hamilton in Hungary

Why Verstappen didn't pit like Hamilton in Hungary

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Why Verstappen didn't pit like Hamilton in Hungary

Why Verstappen didn't pit like Hamilton in Hungary

Christian Horner says Max Verstappen would have been even more of a sitting duck had Red Bull opted to follow Mercedes' suit as they pitted Lewis Hamilton late in the race – a crucial move in Hamilton's victory.

Verstappen led much of the race from pole, shaking off a pursuit from the world champion, which prompted Mercedes' strategy gamble.

Hamilton cut the Dutchman's 20-second gap and passed him with three laps to go, opening up his championship lead to 62 points in the process.

Explaining the decision not to pit Verstappen, Horner told Sky Sports: "We had track position. I think Mercedes just had a quicker car in the race today.

"To be able to follow within a second was mighty impressive and that gave them all the options with the free stop.

"To have pitted Max from the lead with him a second behind, it wouldn't have been a sensible call for us. Max got everything out of it he could. That's as much as we can do.

"By the end of the second sector Lewis would have been ahead, so we would have conceded track position which didn't make any sense. The only chance was to try and hang it out."

Verstappen pitted after being passed by Hamilton and duly pumped in the fastest lap of the race, but Horner played down the notion that his effort suggested he could have held off the Mercedes over a longer period had he taken fresh tyres.

"That's one lap with everything turned up," Horner countered.

"But I think to have pitted from the lead in the position that we were in at that point in the race… it's an impossible call for the leader.

"When you've got a quicker car, you're the car behind and you've got a free pit stop, you've got nothing to lose. It worked out for them today, so well done to Lewis and Mercedes but it's been a hell of a weekend for Max."

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