Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed Max Verstappen chose to start on the hard tyres at the Miami Grand Prix.
Race simulations showed the medium-hard strategy, used by most drivers including Sergio Perez, was the fastest way to the chequered flag but Verstappen‘s alternative strategy paid off as he secured his 38th Formula 1 victory.
“Max was keen to run the alternative strategy,” Horner told the media. “Starting on the hard which certainly, in the simulation worlds, wasn’t quite as quick but it benefited if there was a safety car in the latter part of the race.”
Verstappen’s tyre management masterclass
Verstappen started ninth after a mistake on his first run in qualifying, then was unable to set a lap when Charles Leclerc caused a red flag at the end of Q3
For Horner, it was not the alternative strategy that won the Dutchman the race though, it was his tyre management in the middle part of the Grand Prix, before he switched to the medium tyres.
“The real crux of the race was when Checo pitted on lap 20,” said Horner. “The next 22 laps of Max on the hard tyre was basically a race against the stopwatch.
“On 20 lap older tyres, that’s where he was truly impressive, to match the lap time, sometimes better the lap time, of what Checo was able to do. That’s where he won the race.”