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Verstappen's strategy that led to "sweet" victory over Mercedes explained

Verstappen's strategy that led to "sweet" victory over Mercedes explained

F1 News

Verstappen's strategy that led to "sweet" victory over Mercedes explained

Verstappen's strategy that led to "sweet" victory over Mercedes explained

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has explained why the team elected to give Max Verstappen an aggressive strategy despite leading the United States Grand Prix.

Verstappen came out on top of an immense battle with Lewis Hamilton at the end of a race of tactical twists and turns, with the lead changing hands four times as strategy played its part.

Hamilton surged into the lead into turn one before Verstappen undercut the Mercedes at the first pit stops.

Despite the Dutchman holding track position ahead of the second pit stop window, Red Bull pitted their driver early to leave him vulnerable to a late-race charge from the seven-time champion.

Although Hamilton managed to cut the near nine-second deficit down to just under one second going into the final lap, Verstappen was able to hold firm to extend his championship lead to 12 points.

Explaining Red Bull's strategy through the race, Horner said: "We had really good pace on the medium and at the beginning of the race, in the first stint, Max was really able to put pressure on Lewis and I think our car on that tyre was better than theirs.

"Then Lewis was starting to slide a bit and we were starting to overheat the tyre so we thought 'Let's go for track position and we will take track position and give ourselves a bit more to do'.

"We were convinced they were looking at the undercut at the end of the second stint and we know that they have very good degradation. That's why we pitted him early as well.

"We were running out of tyres, he was within three seconds - the undercut - and we didn't want to give up that position so we banked the track position, but that meant the last five to 10 laps were going to be crucial."

Verstappen win a "sweet" result to beat Mercedes - Horner

Verstappen's victory will be seen as a coup given Hamilton and Mercedes' record at the Circuit of the Americas and the Silver Arrows' apparent dominant pace in the early stages of the weekend.

Asked how the team achieved the win, Horner said: "I think a combination of things.

"We sent the Honda representative Yamamoto up [to the podium] because they have been doing a great job for us. The engine is delivering, the chassis is delivering, the whole team is working so well.

"From where we were on Friday, we were on the back foot but the engineering team, the support we have had from back in the UK, everything has just come together. It has been a sweet result to beat Mercedes here."

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