Christian Horner admits Red Bull got ‘lucky’ after Ferrari missed key opportunity in Miami

The late safety car changed the race but Verstappen was able to hang on to claim a win

Jamie Braidwood
Monday 09 May 2022 09:32
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<p>Red Bull boss Christian Horner enjoyed victory at the Miami Grand Prix  </p>

Red Bull boss Christian Horner enjoyed victory at the Miami Grand Prix

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admitted they got “lucky” that rivals Ferrari did not make the most of a late safety car to pit for fresh tyres at the Miami Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen was on course for a straight-forward victory in the inaugural Miami race after passing both Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to lead.

But a safety car with 14 laps of the race remaining, triggered after Lando Norris collided with Pierre Gasly and crashed out, led to the tightening of the field.

Verstappen had to fight over the closing stages of the race to hold off a surging Leclerc and get himself out of DRS trouble, but Horner revealed he feared it could have been worse had the championship leader pitted for softs.

Sergio Perez and George Russell were among those to pit, with the Mercedes driver passing team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but both Ferraris stayed out.

“After the safety car we were quite lucky that Ferrari didn’t pit and take on a new tyre for that,” Horner told Sky Sports. “Because they probably could have put on the soft tyre, so at least that neutralised things, but then once Charles was in the DRS we couldn’t shake him off.

“And Max, it’s so much pressure in that position that it’s just easy to lock a wheel and so on, and he kept it clean, he didn’t make any mistakes then gradually was able to break…it took him about five or six laps to break the DRS and then he was able to manage it from there.”

Verstappen has now won consecutive races and has claimed victories in all three races in which he has finished. The defending champion made an excellent start to get past Sainz on the opening lap before putting Leclerc under early pressure.

“In the early laps Max was just hanging with him and looking after that tyre, and that was always our tactic going into the race, look after the right-front and keep Charles under pressure,” Horner said.

“And then he was able to close up and with the straight-line speed advantage we had, he was able to make really good use of that, so a real tactical race.”

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