Horner praises dominant Verstappen and explains why Perez lost out at Spa

Verstappen beat out teammate Perez by 22 seconds at the line to take his eighth consecutive victory F1 in 2023

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Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has said it is beyond the team’s wildest dreams to be as dominant as they have been in 2023 as Max Verstappen secured his eighth victory in a row at the Belgian GP.

Verstappen rallied from a five-place grid penalty which dropped him to P6 at the start of the race to win by 22 seconds ahead of teammate Sergio Perez, after dispatching of both the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton with ease.

Despite losing out on the extra point for fastest lap to Hamilton on the final lap of the race, Horner told the media that Verstappen had driven an “incredible” race and had simply been more comfortable out on track than Perez, despite the Mexican starting from P2.

“It was a surprise it took him so long to get to the front to be honest with you,” Horner joked. “But no, honestly all jokes aside, I thought he drove an incredible race today, obviously the first in passing the cars that he did a great job to get up to P2.

He did a did a great job to get up to P2. And then after the stop his race really came alive on the medium tyre where he showed incredible speed.

“And Checo, obviously didn’t defend too hard because of the speed difference between the two of them.

“And thereafter, it’s about managing, you know, the rest of the rest of the race so phenomenal to go into some of the most comprehensive sprints and I think it’s beyond everybody’s wildest imagination to be sitting in this position.”

‘Not as comfortable as Max’

The tyre strategy was predicted to be uncertain after a weekend where the teams gathered only limited data on performance and degradation, and it transpired as such as multiple drivers struggled on different compounds up and down the grid.

That meant that some drivers ended up on offset strategies, but Verstappen was able to manage his tyres despite being reprimanded by his engineer for pushing too hard in the out laps with a fresh set of soft tyres in the final stages of the race.

“I think on the medium tyre Checo definitely wasn’t as comfortable as Max was. And then on the soft tyre at the end, it was about managing the tyre,” Horner said.

“We were the little worried that the tyre you could see were starting to open up, but we didn’t want to get into too much depth. So it was in about closing them up.”

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