‘Red Bull are strategically mostly aggressive, Ferrari react’

Michelle Foster
Christian Horner, Max Verstappen and Helmut Marko celebrate the win. Hungary July 2022

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, Max Verstappen and Helmut Marko celebrate.

Having made winning the title that bit harder with another dubious strategy call in Hungary, Auto Motor und Sport says part of Ferrari’s problem is their reactive strategies.

Ferrari and Charles Leclerc were handed the perfect opportunity to take points off Max Verstappen at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Ferrari 2-3 on the grid with the reigning World Champion down in 10th place after a power issue in qualifying.

They weren’t able to capitalise.

Although Leclerc was leading the grand prix by lap 31, taking P1 off George Russell, Ferrari reacted to the charging Verstappen’s strategy and called the Monégasque driver in from the lead to cover the Dutchman’s second pit stop.

But, as there were still some 30 laps to go, they put him on the hard Pirellis even though everyone else who ran them struggled to get pace out of the tyres.

Ferrari lost the race there and then.

“That’s a difference with Ferrari,” wrote AMuS’s Andrew Haupt. “Red Bull is strategically mostly aggressive, the Reds react more.”

Red Bull’s strategy for Verstappen worked on the day, the Milton Keynes squad starting him on the soft tyres meaning he could do his final two longer stints on the mediums.

“They were very brave with their strategy and were rewarded,” applauded Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has defended the Scuderia’s strategy.

“According to our simulations, they [the hard tyres] should have been superior to the medium tyres after ten laps,” he said. “This assumption was obviously wrong.

But while Binotto is blaming the simulations, Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt says they should have responded better to the drop in temperature over the course of the weekend.

While the track was up 55’C in Friday’s running, it was down to 22’C at the end of Sunday’s 70-lap grand prix.

And that, as everyone knows, means the hard tyres struggle more to work.

Schmidt said: “With his analysis, Ferrari’s capo put himself in front of his technicians and strategists.

“They have to ask themselves why the superior speed of Friday practice was lost while everyone else got better compared to Friday.

“It can only mean that Ferrari reacted too conservatively to the drop in temperature and the 180 degree change in wind direction.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner revealed that his team did take into account the drop in temperature at the start of the race.

“We switched our strategy on the grid,” Horner told Sky F1. “Going to the grid, both drivers felt they were struggling to generate temperature in the soft tyres, which were the tyres to get to the grid, and we were due to start the race on the hard tyres.

“So we switched it on the grid to deal with the ambient conditions and a bit of rain around and so on, and the soft tyres went much further than we’d thought. So at that point we committed to a two-stop and went on to soft-medium-medium.”

Sunday’s result means Leclerc trails Verstappen by 80 points while Ferrari are 97 adrift of Red Bull in the Constructors’.