Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, has suggested that his drivers, Ricciardo and Verstappen, who will be starting from the front row at the Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez, should work together to block out the likes of Hamilton and Vettel behind them.
“Synchronise driving down to Turn 1 and drive as wide as you can against that Ferrari and Mercedes on the drag race down to Turn 1,” said the Red Bull boss when asked about how his team may approach the start.
He went on to substantiate his plan with examples from Japan and Austin. “We saw in Japan when Sebastian was behind Max, we saw Sebastian on Daniel in Austin last weekend, it [the Ferrari] is so strong in a straight line. And it is the same with Lewis,” said Horner.
“They have to be more focused on what those guys are doing than too focused on themselves. We will discuss all these things in the [pre-race] briefing.”
The situation could have been anticipated by Red Bull as they were looking particularly quick in all practice sessions but what they could not have envisaged is Ricciardo starting from pole.
Verstappen was the Red Bull on top in all practice sessions and most of qualifying and the Dutchman looked set to grab the first pole of his career and thus become the youngest pole-sitter in F1, breaking Sebastian Vettel’s record.
Horner assured reporters that the duo would be free to race and that winning Turn 1 would not define the outcome of the race. “They are free to race, but they have to keep it clean,” he said.
“The race isn’t going to be won in the first corner, it is all about looking after these tyres. They are fragile as hell as we can see, and it will be about making sure we have a strategy that can stay ahead of the Ferrari and Mercedes.”
Another member of the Red Bull top brass, Dr. Helmut Marko, took a dig at Ricciardo, as he made fun of his Renault move.