After the race, Perez himself joked in the direction of Verstappen, who was standing next to him: “You owe me some tequila for that!” Verstappen laughs: “You should get it, at the latest when we get to Mexico.” The Dutchman knows: “On a weekend when we weren’t up to speed in terms of pace, coming here in second and third is a very good result.”
Verstappen also warns: “We have to find more pace, because six points (lead in the World Cup; d. Ed.) Are nothing. I can’t complain about the season so far, we had great results and are in the World Cup fight. But it’s going to be tough. Mercedes has picked up speed. ” The difference in speed on the straights is a particular headache for Red Bull. “Lewis was sometimes 15 to 20 km / h faster, that’s a lot. We have to find some speed, especially since Austin is Hamilton-Land,” admits team boss Horner with a view to the next race in Texas.
Wolff declares a late Mercedes stop
“That’s why we weighed up the conservative tactic of stopping and trying to overtake Leclerc and Perez on the track for third place – or taking risks and staying out.” The problem: “With twelve laps to go, Lewis’ times were still pretty good and like Perez’s behind them. But as soon as he had his tires in the window, Lewis’s pace collapsed in comparison and we lost one and a half seconds per lap to him From then on it was clear that we wouldn’t make it to the end like this. That’s why we brought him in to avoid falling behind Gasly. “
For Hamilton’s displeasure, who criticized his team on the radio for the late stop and first grabbed chief strategist James Vowles in the paddock, Wolff understands: “It is clear that he only has limited information in the car. Communication has to flow in both directions Because the pilot is the most important sensor on the track as far as the grip level is concerned, but of course doesn’t see his times in relation to all other pilots. So it’s understandable that such a situation can be frustrating for him. Overall, I think that it was worth trying today. “
Hamilton himself explains: “I didn’t know that I would lose two places because of the stop, but I should have thought so. In the end, I didn’t have enough time to get through the phase in which the tires were blistering . That was a bit frustrating because third place would have been a great result from eleventh on the grid. ” For the world champion, one thing is certain: “In retrospect, I should have either continued driving or had to come in much earlier.”
A first call from his crew for a pit stop on lap 41 is blocked by Hamilton idiosyncratic. This makes the competition smile. “It looked like Lewis was going to outvote the team again,” said Red Bull team boss Horner, grinning. “It was clear to us that he had to go in because his tires looked pretty dangerous. The fact that he then came to the stop so late was decisive because we brought Checo in at the perfect time beforehand.”
Formula 1 on TV