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Horner "surprised" by Mercedes strategy error

Horner "surprised" by Mercedes strategy error

Horner "surprised" by Mercedes strategy error

Horner "surprised" by Mercedes strategy error
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed he was left surprised by Mercedes' tyre strategy at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen took a record-breaking 14th win of the season unchallenged after Mercedes switched to the unfavoured hard tyres.

This left Lewis Hamilton struggling to match the Dutchman's lap times and Horner said: “I think that we got the strategy right here.

"I think, for us, the soft-medium looked like the quicker race. The medium-hard, the hard – there is just not as much grip with the tyre, so we were quite surprised that Mercedes went as conservative as they did with the medium-hard strategy.

“But Max, he’s the first guy ever to convert a pole position into a race lead through turns one and two and really, he controlled the race from the very beginning on those soft tyres, not warming them up too quickly, making sure there was longevity to them.

“And actually, when they came off the car, there was still a lot of life left in them and that gave us even more confidence that the medium tyre would be fine as a one-stop.

“Again, it was a question of not abusing that tyre which is something that he has just been masterful at this year."

Red Bull still "had edge" over Mercedes

Verstappen's soft-medium was the strategy predicted by most ahead of the race given the struggle with the hard tyres early on in practice.

Asked if Mercedes would have been able to have won the race on a more conventional strategy, Horner replied: “I think we still had the edge but they would have been a lot closer.

"You could hear their drivers weren’t very happy about the hard tyre and that’s the second weekend in a row that they’ve put that tyre on and it’s cost them a victory.

“I was quite surprised at that.”

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