Max Verstappen may not have been able to finish the British Grand Prix without making his second pit stop, according to Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner.

Verstappen spent the majority of the British Grand Prix in third place behind the dominant Mercedes duo but found himself promoted to second three laps from the end when Valtteri Bottas suffered a dramatic tyre blow-out.

Red Bull responded by bringing Verstappen in for an extra pit stop in a successful bid to claim the extra point on offer for the fastest lap. When Lewis Hamilton sustained a front-left tyre failure on the final lap, the Dutchman was just 5.8 seconds shy of overturning a 32-second deficit to snatch an unlikely win.

Despite suggestions that Red Bull had inadvertently thrown away a golden opportunity to claim its first victory of 2020, Horner stressed there was “no guarantee” Verstappen would have made it to the end of the race without suffering a similar fate.

"We were particularly concerned with Valtteri getting that puncture, because Max had reported big vibrations as well," Horner told Channel 4.

"So we elected to make the pitstop and the tyre that's actually come off the car, it's got a lot of cuts in it as well. So, it's no guarantee he [Verstappen] would have got to the end of the race.

"So, while it feels we missed out a bit with Lewis' luck at the end there, if we had stayed out, there's no guarantee that we would have gone around the lap without picking up a puncture.

"So, I think we just have to be grateful for what we've benefited from Bottas, but [we] feel a little bit unlucky. Lewis' luck rolls with him at the moment that we missed out on the victory. But, congratulations to them. They had a very dominant car."

Horner revealed that Verstappen’s front-left tyre was severely worn and had up to “50 little cuts” in it.

“The tyre that came off the car had about 50 little cuts in it,” he said. “It had been through debris and if we’d have stayed out we could have lost a second position with the same failure as Lewis, Carlos Sainz and Bottas.

“So it was right on the limit. We’ll be grateful for what we’ve got rather than what we’ve potentially lost.

“You can either look at the glass being half empty or being half full,” Horner added. “We benefited from Bottas’ issues, even when they had a faster car. Very nearly had the same issues ourselves.

“If Hamilton had had the issue a lap before we’d all be patting ourselves on the back. It’s never good to benefit from others’ misfortune but I don’t think we can be upset with what happened.”

 

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