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Horner reveals raised blood pressure over Mercedes' fastest lap "haggling"

Horner reveals raised blood pressure over Mercedes' fastest lap "haggling"

F1 News

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Horner reveals raised blood pressure over Mercedes' fastest lap "haggling"

Horner reveals raised blood pressure over Mercedes' fastest lap "haggling"

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has accused Mercedes of "gamesmanship" and "haggling" as the Mexico City Grand Prix culminated in a battle for the fastest lap point.

Verstappen was in possession of the fastest lap until the closing stages when rivals Mercedes opted to pit out-of-the-points Valtteri Bottas to steal it away.

At the first attempt, Bottas came out behind Verstappen and although he unlapped himself as he was quicker on the fresher rubber, the Dutch driver managed to stay within 1.5secs which meant the Finn was blue flagged.

Denied on that occasion, Mercedes pitted Bottas again - and a fourth time in total in the race - even holding him in the pit box for a few additional seconds to ensure he emerged in clean air.

On the final lap, Bottas clinched the fastest lap but not the point that goes with it as he finished outside the top 10.

It meant team-mate Lewis Hamilton now trails Verstappen by 19 points, but crucially Mercedes holds a one-point lead in the constructors' standings.

"It certainly didn't help our blood pressure on the pit wall," said Horner when asked for his thoughts on what unfolded over the closing laps.

"There was a little bit of playing around because Max was keen to retain the fastest lap.

"Therefore, he was trying to use the blue flag to ensure that Valtteri gave way to him, and then Mercedes pitted him out of the way.

"We weren't going to do the same with Max, obviously.

"It was a little bit of gamesmanship again, haggling over that final point which we didn't want to get to drawn into."

Red Bull "in a great window" in Mexico race

Verstappen's pace throughout the race, after making a crucial move into turn one, was instrumental in a comfortable margin of victory, with Sergio Perez close to making it a one-two.

The pace was reminiscent of that displayed in practice on Friday and made Red Bull overwhelming favourites in qualifying before Mercedes caused a major shock and locked out the front row.

Explaining the difference across the weekend, Horner added: "We were in the right window with the tyres which we know are so sensitive. In Q3, we under-delivered and then we didn't get the final run-in.

"But the car was in a great window in the race and both drivers were very competitive in the race.

"It was very close with Checo at the end to getting a one-two but to have both drivers on the podium was a phenomenal result."

Catch the latest GPFans podcast here as the team debate the Mexico City GP.

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