Christian Horner has an excuse amid Max Verstappen favouritism saga

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has brushed aside claims that the team favoured Max Verstappen over Sergio Perez.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that the team didn’t think Max Verstappen would overtake Sergio Perez, when the Dutchman switched from the Intermediates to a dry compound.

Verstappen led the opening two laps before falling behind his team-mate, who pitted at the end of the first lap when the heavy downpour initially started.

The Intermediates were absolutely the right tyre to be on, as Perez ended up having a sizeable lead after pitting before everyone else.

It was really looking like Perez would potentially win Verstappen’s home race, despite having started seventh.

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However, when the circuit dried, Red Bull decided to pit Verstappen first, even though Perez had track position.

Most teams will usually pit their lead driver first, something the Milton Keynes-based team didn’t do.

Verstappen successfully performed an undercut on Perez to reclaim the race lead, with Horner admitting that the reigning World Champion’s “outlap was so extreme”.

Perez rejoined the circuit in second but fell to third later in the race, after spinning at the opening corner when torrential rain started again.

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Third became fourth for the 33-year-old at the end of the race, as he was slapped with a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit-lane.

Ultimately, Perez wouldn’t have won the race anyway because of his spin at the opening corner, which would’ve allowed Verstappen past if the Mexican was still leading.

Horner was asked though, why Red Bull pitted Verstappen before Perez when the circuit dried, with the Briton stating that it was a “very hard” call to make.

“It was tricky because when you’re the first car, it’s very hard to make that call,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“Checo pulled the trigger early, made a great call, got in [at the start]. The team reacted super-fast, we got him back out.

READ: Christian Horner breaks silence on controversial decision

“We then got Max in immediately, others we were surprised to see stay out. Max then started coming through the field so quickly.

“Checo at the front had pulled a good gap as well and was focused on trying to get a pit stop over the cars behind.

“There were a couple of reasons behind making that decision. One was that we had [Fernando] Alonso taking the slicks as well and I think it was Gasly behind him.

“The pace of the undercut, if we would have pitted Checo first and Max the second lap, we had the risk of coming out after that had shaken down and being first and fourth.

“His outlap was so extreme, it took us slightly by surprise that Max jumped Checo. Just so much happening in very, very variable conditions.”