Red Bull team principal Christian Horner reveals his drivers were supposed to make just one stop during the Grand Prix in Qatar, he told Motorsport-Total.com.
Alpine, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Haas and McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo thought one pit stop was enough. All other drivers went for two pit stops, also to avoid tire problems. Verstappen even went in three times, the last time being to take the fastest lap of the race.
Turn 6 was the big culprit
“We started the race with the intention of making only one stop. But we soon saw that Lewis was putting pressure on the front, so we had to go faster too,” said Horner. Mercedes was less dominant than in Brazil. “In the first stint Hamilton was faster, but in the other two stints we were able to keep up with him,” said the Red Bull team principal. He was therefore surprised that Verstappen was able to set the fastest lap time on old tires. In the end, Turn 6 in Qatar was the main culprit. “We lost a lot of time there from Friday to Sunday. That’s one of the things we need to understand and improve on,” said Horner.
The blowout of Valtteri Bottas meant that Sergio Perez also had to get a new set of tires. “It was too much of a risk to go for the one-stop shop with ‘Checo’. Especially after what happened to Valtteri,” Horner explains. Due to the pit stop, the Mexican had to make up a lot of time on Fernando Alonso. The Red Bull team boss is of the opinion that the virtual safety car has not helped either. “Without the VSC, we would have overtaken Fernando on the last lap,” Horner concluded.