Red Bull’s calculations forecasted that Max Verstappen’s Formula 1 tyres would run out of life before the end of Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, according to team boss Christian Horner.

Verstappen turned in a remarkable recovery drive from 18th on the grid to finish second in Austin, holding off a late charge from Lewis Hamilton to take second, just 1.2s behind race-winner Kimi Raikkonen.

The Dutchman successfully undercut Valtteri Bottas and also jumped ahead of Hamilton into second when Mercedes committed to a two-stop strategy following severe blistering on the Soft compound.

Driver Ratings - United States GP

Running on an alternative strategy, Verstappen managed 34 laps on Supersofts despite Red Bull’s fears the tyres would not go the distance.

“We run a whole bunch of simulations to try and monitor what’s going on with tyres and everything was telling us we were going to be out of tyres with six laps to go,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“Speaking to Max, he seemed pretty confident he could manage it and it was just about managing in the high-speed corners to get to the end of the race.”

Horner reckons Verstappen’s charging fightback and his defence from Hamilton in the closing stages highlighted all of his star quality.

“He’s beaten the poleman and to be racing for the lead at the end of the race there, defended against Lewis [Hamilton] on a much better tyre, I mean what a drive,” he said.

“This is vintage Max. He just will not give up. It was great racing, fair racing, between two hard racers and that’s what the people turn their TVs on for to see.”

Asked if there was a point Red Bull thought a win was possible, Horner replied: “I think we always knew that there’s a lot of focus going on behind about Lewis and Kimi, and you could see the gaps getting closer and closer.

“I think perhaps without Lewis behind him in the last few laps, he may well of had a good go.”