Red Bull defends itself against accusations that the team chose the wrong strategy in Barcelona – However, Red Bull Formula 1 boss Helmut Marko reveals a total misunderstanding by Verstappen caused big problems and was the reason the team lost out to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish GP.
Could Max Verstappen have won the Spanish Grand Prix with the right strategy?
Lewis Hamilton’s rival doesn’t think so: “From my point of view we didn’t do anything wrong, I don’t see any strategy with which we could have turned it around,” said the Red Bull driver after the race.
The part about “nothing wrong” is not quite right – because a mishap definitely happened to Red Bull or Verstappen himself.
As Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko revealed on Sky, Verstappen’s first stop had not been planned that way:
“Then Max came into the pits completely unexpectedly and without being asked. So for that, the pit stop was very, very good with four seconds or so.”
The 4.2 second stop was unusual for the usually nimble Red Bull crew, but thus quickly explained.
“That was a misunderstanding between the race engineer and Max. So Max came in and in the pit lane one of our crew shouted: ‘Max is coming in’,” said Marko.
The slightly longer pit stop gave Mercedes the opportunity to bring Lewis Hamilton in and pass him with the ‘overcut’. However, the Silver Arrows decided against it and so Verstappen remained in the lead even after Hamilton’s stop.
Therefore, it can be assumed that Hamilton’s victory could not have been prevented in this way, but Marko also said:
“As a result, we were already set by the number of laps, because it was clear that the second part would be difficult with the tyres. That’s when we knew this was it.”
With hindsight, it is impossible to clarify one hundred per cent whether Red Bull could have won without making a mistake. But the fact is that not only Hamilton in the cockpit, but also Mercedes in the pits had done the best job in the race.