Christian Horner Reveals They Were Willing to Sacrifice Dutch GP Victory in Order to Stay Ahead of Lewis Hamilton

Published 09/07/2021, 9:25 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 20, 2021 Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Max Verstappen secured his seventh victory of the current season after winning his home race at Zandvoort. In addition, the Dutchman regained his lead in the driver’s championship by three points over his arch-rival, Lewis Hamilton. That said, lap 30 of the Dutch GP proved to be decisive for Verstappen when he overtook Valtteri Bottas.


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The Mercedes duo was on different strategies, with Hamilton opting for an aggressive two-stop strategy while the Finnish driver played along as he tried to make a one-stop work.

During the middle phase of the race, Bottas lead the race and he was instructed by his team to defend his position against Verstappen. However, it took the Dutchman just over a lap to swiftly move past Bottas.


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Meanwhile, Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, reveals they were prepared to sacrifice the Dutch GP victory in order to cover Verstappen’s title rival, Lewis Hamilton.

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What did Christian Horner say?

As quoted by, Christian Horner reveals the race was not about securing the victory but finishing ahead of the seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton.

“Our focus was on Lewis. He’s the biggest rival, so we chose him, even if we risked giving up the race. It was important to secure the points against Lewis. It was an interesting tactical race,” said Horner.

Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 20, 2021. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates with team principal Christian Horner after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Nicolas Tucat.

In addition, Horner explains they were expecting a split strategy from Mercedes as they have two cars in play.

“We expected that they split the strategies. They had two cars in the game, so they were aggressive with Lewis and drove with Valtteri for a long time,” said the Red Bull team principal.

“Since the two-stop strategy was faster, it was crucial that Max pass Valtteri immediately. He did, and that allowed us to manage the second half of the race better.” (Quotes translated via Google)

Max Verstappen thinks Valtteri Bottas is fair driver

Valtteri Bottas, who opted for a one-stop strategy, led the Dutch GP when both the title contenders pitted for fresh tires. But soon after, Max Verstappen regained his lead after he moved past the Finnish driver, who was struggling with his old tires.

Meanwhile, the driver’s championship leader, Max Verstappen, praised Valtteri Bottas for not aggressively defending his position.


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“It was all good. Valtteri is a very fair racing driver. He drives hard, but fair, so I felt good,” said Max Verstappen.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 5, 2021. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium with the trophy after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Francisco Seco.

“I knew it was crucial to get past. We were already in the pits, and I could see that Valtteri was struggling with his tires. I didn’t get past the first try with DRS, but the second, I think it was not much of his tires left.”


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Who will come out victorious at the Italian Grand Prix, Mercedes or Red Bull? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.



Pingaksh Sharma

243 articles

Pingaksh Sharma is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been following this sport since India hosted the Grand Prix in 2012 and has been an ardent supporter of the eventual race winner, Sebastian Vettel. He is also a fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull and hopes the former breaks the Lewis Hamilton dominance.