Red Bull team principal Christian Horner couldn’t believe how “easy” it was for Max Verstappen to see off Mercedes and win the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
The Silver Arrows simply couldn’t keep their tyres in any sort of good condition at Silverstone, allowing Verstappen to comfortably pull off a two-stop strategy and take victory ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen only really faced wheel-to-wheel combat with a Mercedes after he made his first stop on Lap 27, but on the same lap he overtook Bottas at Luffield to reclaim P1.
And from there he went on to a comfortable victory, and Horner couldn’t quite believe how “easy” it was in an RB16 which has been hard to tame so far this year.
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“It was an amazing performance today. The pace in the race was beyond what we expected,” he told Sky F1.
“And starting on that reverse strategy, Max was just chilling out at the beginning of the race and it was just so easy today.
“Even after Mercedes pitted and went on to a new hard we were able to pull away, and at that point you think ‘this really is game on now’.”
That reverse strategy was to start on the hard tyres – Verstappen was the only driver in the top 10 to do that and it paid off.
But it may not have worked so well if he had followed Red Bull’s early advice to drop back from Hamilton, to which he said he would not “sit behind like a grandma”.
“His grandma must drive pretty quickly,” Horner joked.
“We just had them covered today and I think there’s a lot for us to understand from this race.
“The car worked fantastically well, for Alex as well, and the pace was right there.
“Then we switched our strategy because we were going to go with the hards but then switched to the medium in the middle to get rid of that tyre, so then we were essentially on the same strategy as the Mercedes boys and were able to cover them.
“Whatever they had Max was able to cover them, so that was fantastic.”
Asked if he was surprised Mercedes didn’t cover Red Bull in qualifying by also putting one of their drivers on the hard tyres at the start, Horner said: “What you have to remember is the compounds have gone a step softer this weekend so, what was the red soft tyre last weekend was the medium this weekend.
“For us that felt really fragile so we thought we could manage to put a lap together [on the hards] in qualifying, it was so tight yesterday.
“Yes we were very surprised that we were the only ones who drove out on that hard tyre.”
There were some suggestions that the higher tyre pressures for this weekend, in response to the tyre failures at the British Grand Prix, contributed to Mercedes’ struggles.
Asked if that was the case, Horner said: “It could well be, you see they have a lot of downforce on that car, more wing than we are carrying.
“They blistered their tyres within about five laps after that first pit stop, and Max was still taking it very easy at that time.
“So there a lot of things for us to understand, but the result is a win at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix here at Silverstone, it’s unbelievable.”
Mercedes have been untouchable so far this season, and even in qualifying for the 70th Anniversary GP were almost a second ahead of the pack.
But now that Red Bull have put a dent in the Silver Arrows’ armour, is the title fight back on?
“They’re a formidable opponent, but we’ve had a really strong performance today,” said Horner.
“We beat them fair and square, on pace and strategy, and I think there is a lot of confidence that we will take out of this race weekend.”