Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has owned up to a "ballsy call" that helped Max Verstappen secure victory in the French Grand Prix.
Despite Verstappen leading after an undercut on Lewis Hamilton had allowed him to get ahead of the Mercedes driver, Red Bull opted for a race-defining two-stop plan.
It was a gamble that left Mercedes with no other card to play and committed to its one-stop strategy with both Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas and hoping the seven-time champion could hold on in the closing laps.
As it transpired, Hamilton was caught by Verstappen on the penultimate lap to open up a 12-point lead in the drivers' championship, while Red Bull is 37 clear in the constructors' standings.
"Once we were on the hard tyre, Max was being pushed really hard," said Horner.
"He wasn’t able to manage the tyres.
"Mercedes were telling their drivers to keep the pressure on us and we thought they
were very much gearing up for a two-stop themselves.
“The feedback from the car was that he [Verstappen] didn’t think he would get to the end so the strategists presented the option in front of me and said we’ve got nothing to lose so we pulled the trigger."
Red Bull out-strategise Mercedes
Asked as to how the race would likely have played out if Verstappen had not taken the lead from Hamilton with the undercut, Horner replied: "It would almost have been easier if they had maintained track position because then we would have pulled the trigger anyway.
"To make that call when you’re in the lead, all the tyres are looking okay and so on, was quite a ballsy call but it was the fastest way we felt to the end of the race.”
Horner believes Red Bull out-strategised Mercedes who he felt had the quicker car
“I think strategically we were better in that race," added Horner. "There is very, very
little between the cars.
"Arguably, in the wind that we had, their race pace looked a bit more comfortable for them. It was quite tricky out there and I think with the lower downforce on the car it wasn’t quite as secure as the Mercedes.”
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