Verstappen praises Red Bull for finding the best strategy

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen praised his team for finding the best strategy for today's Spanish Grand Prix in which he was put under immense pressure by McLaren racer Lando Norris.

Expanding on his seventh victory of the season, the three-time world champion noted: “We executed everything really well today and I am really pleased to win here in Barcelona. I managed to get ahead in lap two, which ultimately made my race, and the Team did a great job as we were aggressive with the strategy and made all of the right calls.

"After we overtook and led the race we had to take quite a defensive strategy and really push to the end. We lacked a bit of pace and McLaren were better on the tyres than us today, so that is something that we need to look at and aim to improve on. I needed to try and push a bit more as Lando was pushing full out behind to try to catch me.

"We need to ultimately maximise our performance and manage the tyres as best we can. That said, it was great to bring it home with a win and as a Team we operated really well today. We were really strong, didn’t make any mistakes and the Team also achieved the fastest pit stop this year too, which was great to see. So a strong weekend overall," concluded the Dutchman.

His team-mate Sergio Perez had a difficult qualifying session where he struggled for pace. With the top four teams having been ultra-closely matched in recent weeks, his struggles meant that he only secured P8 which was then converted into an 11th starting position due to a three-place grid drop penalty.

The Mexican started 11th and had to work hard for his points, three-stopping and overtaking multiple cars on track for what was probably the best position he could recover to.

“We struggled a little bit with the pace today and it was super hard to pass anyone on that first stint, especially in the dirty air, I was managing my tyres and in a DRS train. I think that ultimately compromised our race and we had some balance issues on the soft tyre, which made things harder than predicted.

"We switched to a three-stop strategy and that meant we managed to save, what I believed was the maximum today, given our starting position. Our Saturday was the main problem, and I am pretty disappointed because we haven’t been able to maximise the potential in the car this weekend, at least on my side, I think Max did a tremendous job today to come away with the win.

"I have made good learnings this weekend for the coming weeks, I am hopeful we can be more competitive and come back strong in Austria. I need to help deliver perfect weekends for the Team because it is going to be a very competitive season."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was understandably over the moon after Max Verstappen clinched his seventh victory in ten races of 2024.

However, he expressed his view on the actual pecking order, and urged his team to constantly find tiny improvement on the RB20.

"Max drove a brilliant race today, and strategically we got it just right. The first lap was crucial with the start being one element of it, but Max also needed to overtake the Mercedes at the right moment and then quickly get the tyres under control which is very difficult under pressure.

"Checo was on a three stop strategy today and he executed a tricky race with good overtakes to secure points, so should take some confidence away from the weekend.

"It was a very exciting race with hard, fair racing and small margins. McLaren are doing a great job, Ferrari aren’t far away and Mercedes have made progress as well, but we’re just keeping our nose ahead and it’s important that we keep pushing because there are still a lot more races to go."