Horner explains why Red Bull picked slower tyres for Verstappen

Max Verstappen couldn't keep up with George Russell during Saturday's F1 Sprint at the 2022 Brazilian GP, and Christian Horner explained the team's thinking behind the decision

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team’s decision to start Max Verstappen on medium tyres for Saturday’s Sprint Race in Brazil didn’t go to plan as the Dutchman ended up having worse degradation than the softs.

The reigning world champion started the F1 Sprint Race in at the 2022 Brazilian GP second behind Kevin Magnussen, and after quickly passing the Haas driver, the expectation was he would cruise away to victory.

That isn’t what happened though, as Verstappen was eventually caught and passed by George Russell, who will start Sunday’s Grand Prix from first on the grid.

Verstappen was the only front runner to start on the mediums, and Horner says the team thought the decision would pay off if they could hold on during the first part of the race.

Instead Verstappen struggled on the compound and was eventually passed by Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton, finishing fourth.

“We felt that the soft was a bit limited in range,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “So we took the decision start on the medium.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads George Russell of Mercedes during F1 Sprint at the 2022 Brazilian GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“If we could survive the first 12 laps, the second half of the race would have become a little more comfortable. Having survived the first half of the race, we ended up actually in a worse degradation than the soft.

“Mercedes had a very quick car today and we just couldn’t hold them off.”

Verstappen searching for answers

Verstappen, who’s already clinched the 2022 Drivers’ Championship, says he backed the team’s decision to start on mediums as he felt things would work out in the end.

“At the time I felt alright, but somehow it didn’t work,” said Verstappen. “Even on the softs I was going to be too slow.

“We had too much degradation here today. We’ll analyze it, I’m not sure we can do a lot for tomorrow, but we can’t be worse than today.”

Sergio Perez did quite a lot of time on the hards during FP2, opening the door for Red Bull to try something different on Sunday, but Verstappen wouldn’t commit to anything until he looks at the data.

“At the end of the day, when you have so much more degradation than another team, it doesn’t matter what tyre you put on,” Verstappen said.

“I think we just need to improve that first.”

Adriano Boin
Adriano Boin
Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1 and Ferrari.
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