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Christian Horner

Horner shares how Red Bull planned to deal with Leclerc

Christian Horner has detailed how Red Bull were attempting to overcome Charles Leclerc for the French Grand Prix win, prior to the Ferrari driver crashing out,

Verstappen Leclerc France
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To news overview © XPB

Christian Horner believes it was "a shame" that the fight between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc at Paul Ricard was ended prematurely.

The French Grand Prix looked set to be a race-long tactical battle involving Red Bull and Ferrari, with Leclerc leading Verstappen in the initial exchanges of the race.

Moments after Red Bull's Verstappen pitted for his first stop, Leclerc crashed out of the race, effectively handing the victory to his championship rival.

With many predicting that the race would become a contest between a one-stop or a two-stop strategy, it's not known how soon Ferrari would have responded to Red Bull's earlier pit-stop.

Would Verstappen or Leclerc have won?

Speaking after the race, Red Bull Team Principal Horner confirmed that they were attempting an 'undercut' with Verstappen, but he was disappointed not to see how the differing strategies played out.

"I think the main thing today was that Charles is okay. It was a cracking race between the two of them in that first stint and a nasty-looking incident," Horner told Sky Sports F1.

"We 'hit the button' earlier and went for the undercut, Max effectively got track position, and it's a shame we didn't get to see how that would have played out.

"In the end, a straightforward victory for Max and maximum points, so that's a job well done. [We're] frustrated we didn't have Checo [Perez] on the podium there as well, he was just unlucky with that Virtual Safety Car."

Horner: A one-stop was possible for us

With Verstappen pitting earlier than most, this could have pointed to the Red Bull driver electing for a two-stop strategy.

Ferrari didn't immediately react to Verstappen's pit-stop, which suggested that they would stick to their guns and run a one-stop strategy.

However, Horner commented that Red Bull were likely to opt for a one-stop strategy, owing to their confidence in the tyre wear.

"It was a great battle between the two of them and, at the beginning of race, we were thinking in this temperature this is more looking like a two-stop," added Horner.

"The way that Max was able to follow, the tyre temperatures were actually looking pretty under control, wear was looking good, we weren't blistering as much as the Ferrari was... we were feeling pretty strong, which is why we went on an aggressive one-stop.

"It would have been fascinating to see, if Charles had pitted, he would've had a two or three-lap advantage on the tyres, but it would have been a great battle."

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