Both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez started the race at Marina Bay on the hard compound tyre, which did as many as 40 laps, as they aimed to recover their weekend after qualifying in 11th and 13th place, respectively.
But their strategy went out of the window when the safety car was deployed on Lap 20 following Logan Sargeant‘s crash, allowing their rivals to change tyres at a reduced time cost.
“By starting on the hard we took a strategic gamble,” Horner said to the media. “The best way that race paying off is if you get an early safety car, or a safety car later into the race.
“Now the lap that the safety car came out was probably strategically the worst possible lap for the strategy that we were on, because it gave the the cars or the cars ahead of us a free stop.
“At the same time whilst giving us track position, it made us take the restart with tyres that are very hard to heat up again, having done well over 20 laps.
“Then Max [Verstappen] was obviously picked off by by the guys that have had the free stop and then we had to take a pit stop under normal racing conditions.”
Verstappen recovery in Singapore
Due to the tyre delta the surrounding cars had they were quickly shuffled back down the order, but Verstappen managed to recover his race to fifth after swapping for medium tyres which was encouraging for the team who are taking the positives.
“All things considered,” Horner continued. “The recovery that we had, and the pace that we had particularly in the latter part of the race to be 0.2s behind Charles [Leclerc] at the finish line, shows it was a strong race.
“At some point we were getting beaten and 15 in a row is an unbelievable record. We’ve only been once beaten once since last July .
“I have to congratulate Ferrari and particularly Carlos [Sainz], who drove a very strong race today and deserved to win the race.”