Christian Horner has contradicted Sergio Perez's opinion that the Medium tyre was "weak" in the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix.
Pole-sitter Perez opted for a conventional Medium-Hard one-stopper in Miami with title rival Max Verstappen electing for the opposing Hard-Medium plan, giving the World Champion fresher rubber with which to attack in the closing laps.
Verstappen passed Perez on Lap 48, just three tours after his pit-stop to cruise to a third victory of the season and increase his points lead to 14 as F1 prepares to head back to Europe.
Perez explained he wasn't sure he could have beaten Verstappen on the same strategy, and even ruled out starting on the Hards - but Red Bull boss Horner believes with "hindsight" the Mexican could have pushed more on his own Medium stint to build a gap to the recovering Verstappen.
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Perez's tyre claim
"No, when you are starting on pole, starting on the Hard is much more like a gamble that can go right or wrong with Safety Cars," Perez explained to media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked if he was tempted to start on the Hards.
"Because pretty much the whole grid went for the Medium start, I think none of us realised how weak of a tyre it was. I think once we did a few laps on it, we realised that it was quite a poor tyre.
"It started well, but very early on, I saw that the Medium was very fragile, initially, so I had to protect the tyre quite a lot just to make lap 15 or so.
"And it was really hard to lean on that tyre. Basically, the whole right-hand side was really difficult.
"I could see that Max was closing up on the Hard. And from that point on, I knew that the race was looking difficult.
"When I went onto the Hard, Max had very strong pace, so we didn't manage to open a gap, he simply came too close to us."
"In the first 10 laps, he was very much managing the pace, and I think he was nervous about the front-right and we started to see other teams start to get a bit of graining," Horner commented.
"I think he was driving well within himself and the car to protect that front-right, and then he started to push after the first 10 laps and start to build a lead.
"Probably with 20-20 hindsight, if he looked at the race again he would push harder in that first stint because the Medium tyre actually turned out to be a very good tyre as we saw with Fernando [Alonso] actually going quite a long way [until Lap 25 before pitting]."
Horner also revealed that he had given sign off for Verstappen's contra-approach.
"Strategy is obviously discussed, all the numbers are run overnight and we weighed up the pros and cons.
"Max and his engineering team were keen to give that a run today, and I was happy to sign off on and say: 'If that's what you want to do, then okay.'"
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