Christian Horner reveals where Max Verstappen ‘was really doing a lot of damage’

Max Verstappen found himself in second behind Sergio Perez just 15 laps into the 2023 Miami Grand Prix.

After winning the Miami Grand Prix from ninth on the grid, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed where Max Verstappen was so dominant at the Miami International Autodrome, to the extent where Sergio Perez had no answer.

Had it not been for Charles Leclerc crashing in the closing stages of Q3, then Verstappen would’ve likely claimed pole position, with his pace in Miami having been unmatchable.

He breezed through the field last Sunday to claim his third win of the season, with the result having seen his championship lead extend to 14 points.

According to Horner, Verstappen was superior in Miami “purely” due to his pace in the first sector, where the Briton admits the Dutchman was “on fire”.

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“It’s just purely sector one, I think [Turns] 3, 4, 5 and 6,” said Horner.

“Max was outstanding in that sector.

“And I think the rest of the lap was much of a muchness. But sector one was where Max was really doing a lot of damage.”

Horner added: “I think it’s the way that the sequence of corners flows. It’s hard to pinpoint any particular area of consistency.

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“I think that Max was on fire through that sector all weekend. But it will vary from circuit to circuit.”

Verstappen’s pace and tyre preservation were so strong that he lasted 45 laps on the Hard compound which he started the race on, with Perez having been unable to hunt down the 25-year-old despite having pitted significantly earlier.

The Dutchman found himself just under two seconds behind Perez following his pit-stop, with it having taken him no time at all to quickly overtake the Mexican.

Due to his fresher rubber, there was no real battle between the pair; however, Horner explained that the team did talk before the race about letting the duo race each other.

“We discussed it [on Sunday] morning,” said Horner.

“I said to them you’re free to race, but just keep it clean. And respect the team and respect each other.

“I felt they did that. They raced firmly but fairly, and they gave each other enough space and respect.”

Horner added that Perez could still leave Miami happy with his performance despite having been beaten by Verstappen, although, the Red Bull boss could understand why the 33-year-old might have felt “disappointed” to have not converted his pole position into a second consecutive win.

“Max was truly outstanding. But there’s still a long, long way to go,” he said.

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“I think there’s only 14 points between the two drivers, and 18 races to go and five sprint races.

“So still an awful lot that can happen. I’m sure he [Perez] was disappointed not to convert it into a victory. But he’s still taking away very valuable points.”

Horner continued: “I think he’ll want to understand where that time difference was in the middle part of the race.”