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Horner cools Italian GP strategy debate: 'We would have won anyway'

Christian Horner has dismissed any speculation that Ferrari could have taken the Italian GP victory, insisting Red Bull and Max Verstappen were simply faster.

Christian Horner is adamant that Red Bull would have had the pace to win the Italian GP, regardless of Ferrari's strategic decisions. Max Verstappen took his 11th win of the season at Monza to take another big step towards a second F1 Drivers' Championship. Running behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the opening laps of the race, Verstappen took the lead of the race when Leclerc pitted under the Virtual Safety Car and switched to a two-stop strategy. With Verstappen making only one pit stop, he was unchallenged en route to victory, with Leclerc unable to sufficiently reduce the gap, even with faster tyres at the end of the race. Speaking after the race, Horner believed that Verstappen and Red Bull demonstrated enough pace to take the victory without strategic intervention. "Even on the soft tyre, Charles's pace to Max's medium [pace], it wasn't sufficient to catch. We certainly had the race under control," Horner told the media, including RacingNews365 . "I don't think strategically that they [Ferrari] made a bad call, I think we just had a quicker package today. I think we would have won the race."

Horner: RB18 worked very well at Monza

The Red Bull car has proven to be strong at the higher-speed circuits, with the RB18 generally achieving better top speeds compared to its nearest rivals. Expectations ahead of the Italian GP were leaning towards a Red Bull victory, and Horner indicated that Verstappen's quick progress from a P7 grid start early on in the race was evidence of Red Bull's strengths at high-speed circuits. "We have honed the car and we understand the car well. The RB18 works very efficiently on the high-speed circuits with lower drag. Spa was a good circuit for us and here the car was also strong," Horner added. "We compromised qualifying [pace] a little bit, knowing that we were going to take the [grid] penalty, and that paid off well, I think we had tremendous pace today. "Max had already made it to P3 by the end of the first lap, and then a couple of laps later he was second. Then he was just easing the gap down to Charles."

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