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Horner hails "insane" Hamilton as Verstappen podium felt "like a victory"

Horner hails "insane" Hamilton as Verstappen podium felt "like a victory"

F1 News

Horner hails "insane" Hamilton as Verstappen podium felt "like a victory"

Horner hails "insane" Hamilton as Verstappen podium felt "like a victory"

Christian Horner has labelled Max Verstappen's second place in the Russian Grand Prix as "like a victory" for Red Bull and paid testament to Lewis Hamilton for his 100th win.

Verstappen started last on the grid after taking an engine penalty in addition to the three-place grid penalty that loomed over him from the Italian Grand Prix.

After scything his way through the field, Verstappen took advantage of tyre strategy to climb to the top seven before rain set up a dramatic finish to the race in Sochi.

The Dutchman timed his switch to intermediate tyres to perfection to take second and limit the damage to race winner and title rival Hamilton who has become the first to claim a century of grand prix victories.

"The last two venues we knew Mercedes have been historically very, very strong," Horner told Sky Sports F1. "I have to say congrats to Lewis on his centenary of wins which is insane.

"For us to come away from here only two points away in the drivers' championship, with an engine penalty taken and the engine in the pool, that is great news.

"It feels like a victory for us. To be honest, to go from 20th to P2 with the engine penalty and the grid penalty, I don't think we could have expected more than that coming here.

"Max was confident coming into the race but we thought top five might be possible. To come away with that podium, that is hugely valuable."

Verstappen "nailed" tyre decision

Hamilton was handed victory by Lando Norris' reluctance to pit for intermediates in search of his first win in F1, with Sergio Perez falling into the same trap as he pushed for a podium finish.

"Sergio wasn't alone, there was a bunch of guys trying to brave it out thinking it was so close to the finish, if the rain just stops the circuit will come back," explained Horner.

"Max nailed it, he called it right and obviously was able to make it stick and obviously to come from 20th to P2, if you had offered us that at the beginning of the day we would have absolutely taken it."

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