Christian Horner adds insult to Sergio Perez’s poor Miami GP

Max Verstappen's opening stint on the Hard compound at the Miami Grand Prix lasted 45 laps.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen would’ve won last weekend’s Miami Grand Prix even if he were on the same strategy as Sergio Perez, with the Dutchman having been “confident” ahead of the race.

Having qualified ninth, Verstappen opted for a “slightly different” tyre strategy at the Miami International Autodrome, with the reigning World Champion having started on the Hard compound.

Perez on the other hand, started on the Mediums, with the 33-year-old having also been on pole.

Despite having been on the hardest compound, Verstappen’s pace was unmatchable, with him having worked his way into second with relative ease.

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Once behind Perez, Verstappen managed his tyres to near perfection, to the point where his team-mate struggled to match him even when he’d pitted for a fresh set of tyres.

With Perez having pitted much earlier, Verstappen led the bulk of the race, where he maintained a 16-second advantage over his team-mate, who failed to capitalise on his fresh rubber.

It meant that when Verstappen pitted for a fresh set of Mediums with 12 laps remaining, he was just under a couple of seconds behind Perez, who was nursing his Hard tyres.

Verstappen ultimately overtook Perez relatively comfortably, to claim his third win of the 2023 F1 season.

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The decision to run an alternative strategy clearly worked well for the two-time World Champion; however, Horner believes the result would’ve been the same even if Verstappen had started on the Mediums instead.

“I think if he’d been on the other strategy as well the performance would have been very similar today,” Horner said.

“I think he was obviously frustrated with himself after quali, that he made a mistake, and then obviously didn’t get the chance to rectify that.

“And I think he was confident coming into the race today, and just wanted to do something slightly different.”

Horner shared that the decision to start on the hardest compound was actually made by Verstappen and his side of the garage, who “were keen” to try something different.

“The strategy obviously is discussed, all the numbers are run overnight, and we weighed up the pros and cons,” the Briton said.

“His engineering team and Max were keen to give that a run today. I was happy to sign it off and say if that’s what you want to do, then okay.”

Verstappen was simply too strong for Perez in Miami, with the Dutchman having arguably been robbed of pole position by Charles Leclerc’s late Q3 crash.

READ: Sergio Perez fires ‘pure pace’ jibe at Max Verstappen

With that in mind, Horner doesn’t think Checo will be that disappointed to have finished second, given that he still scored significant points.

“I think it’s swings and roundabouts of sport, isn’t it?” Horner said. “A week ago he was on a high. But I don’t think he’ll be too disappointed.

“He’s still taking away 18 points from here. I don’t think there’s anybody that would have beaten Max today.”