Christian Horner has revealed what was going on to cause the Red Bull pitwall to tell Max Verstappen to slow down in the final laps at Monza.
Verstappen claimed his 10th consecutive race win in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, setting a new F1 record in the process, while Red Bull set a new record for consecutive wins as a constructor with 15 in a row.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing, with Verstappen having to stick with and overtake a fiesty Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari, while his laptimes slowed dramatically in the closing stages of the race.
Max Verstappen forced to back off in final laps of Italian GP
Verstappen had been lapping relentlessly in the 1:25s throughout the second half of the race, but suddenly slowed down to the 1:27s and even 1:28s with four laps to go.
Clearly eager not to catch lapped traffic ahead too quickly, with a gaggle of cars including Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, and Zhou Guanyu, Verstappen explained afterward why his pace had dropped.
“A few laps from the end, I had to really drastically slow down to make it to the end,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com after the race.
“I haven’t spoken to the team yet about what issue or what the issue was really. They just told me what I had to do. I did that to the end. Luckily, of course, we had the gap behind, so I could just take it quite easy to the end.”
Christian Horner reveals Max Verstappen issue
Asked to elaborate on the problems the Dutch driver was having as he honed in on his record-breaking 10th career win, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hinted that temperatures on the RB19 were getting uncomfortably high.
“We were just managing some temperature issues,” he confirmed.
“We just didn’t want to take any risks on a stinking hot day. We had a couple of temperatures that were…they were under control.
“But there were a bunch of cars ahead of Gasly and we just didn’t want to run in dirty air. So that’s why we took it a little bit easy in the last few laps.”
With Yuki Tsunoda having retired with a suspected engine issue prior to the first race start, and the AlphaTauri running the exact same gearbox and engine as the Red Bulls, Horner said it hadn’t been comfortable seeing the sister car pull over.
“Always [uncomfortable], because they’ve got the same gearboxes, the same engine,” he said.
“So there are a lot of common components. It wasn’t comfortable to see that car pulling off on the formation lap.”