Christian Horner reveals who was responsible for high-risk Max Verstappen call

Max Verstappen is the only driver to have won the Miami Grand Prix, with him winning in 2022 and 2023.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed that is was Max Verstappen who decided to start the Miami Grand Prix on the Hard compound, a decision which ultimately saw him breeze through the field.

Due to starting the race in ninth, Verstappen opted to go for an “alternative strategy”, with those around him having started the race on the Medium compound.

With the RB19’s straight-line speed being unmatchable, the opposite strategy worked beautifully for the 25-year-old, who found himself in second behind Sergio Perez in no time at all.

The reigning World Champion actually led the bulk of the race because of his strategy, with him having not pitted until 12 laps from the end of the fifth race of the 2023 F1 season.

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Verstappen exited the pits in second but right behind Perez, who at that point in the race was on a worn set of Hards.

It resulted in Verstappen overtaking the Mexican relatively easily, due to his fresh Mediums.

His third win of the year saw Verstappen’s lead in the Drivers’ Championship increase to 14 points, ahead of the upcoming triple-header.

“Max was keen to run the alternative strategy,” Horner told the media.

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“Starting on the hard which certainly, in the simulation worlds, wasn’t quite as quick but it benefited if there was a safety car in the latter part of the race.”

When Perez pitted on Lap 20 to ditch his Mediums for a set of the Hard compound, many expected the 33-year-old to close Verstappen down, given that the Dutchman was on older tyres.

However, Verstappen was instead able to manage the gap, with him having actually increased it on some laps.

His pace was truly exceptional, with Horner having noted that the two-time World Champion was “impressive” on the hardest compound of tyre available.

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“The real crux of the race was when Checo pitted on lap 20,” said Horner.

“The next 22 laps of Max on the hard tyre was basically a race against the stopwatch.

“On 20 lap older tyres, that’s where he was truly impressive, to match the lap time, sometimes better the lap time, of what Checo was able to do. That’s where he won the race.”