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Christian Horner

Horner thrilled with 'big victory' at Hamilton stronghold

Christian Horner has said that clinching victory at the Circuit of the Americas highlights the improving strength of Red Bull, given Lewis Hamilton's record at the circuit.

Hamilton Verstappen USA
To news overview © Mercedes

Christian Horner has said that Max Verstappen's victory in the United States is one of the most impressive in the Dutch driver's 18-win catalogue.

Verstappen converted pole position into victory at the Circuit of the Americas, but it was a task that was far from simple as he had to fend off a hard-charging Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps.

"They're all important, but this is a big one, because this has been such a stronghold for Lewis and Mercedes," Red Bull team boss Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com, after the race.

"To get the pole was a landmark moment for us. Then to convert into a win, even not leading on the first lap, [it was a] great team performance.

"On Friday, we were on the back foot and it looked like it was gonna be a tough weekend. But the whole team worked very hard and managed to turn it around."

Hamilton had won five of the eight United States Grands Prix previously held at the Texas venue, with Verstappen coming from behind after losing the lead at the start of the race when the lights went out.

"I think we underestimated the amount of grip, so we bogged down a little bit," Horner explained.

"Lewis had a good start and then he'd lost the momentum on the run up the hill, so it was always going to be hard for him to hang around the outside."

Verstappen stalked Hamilton throughout the opening stint on the Mediums, taking the lead through the first pit-stops after an aggressive undercut from Red Bull. From there, it was simply a case of seeing his two Hard tyre stints through while soaking up the pressure as Hamilton closed down the gap on fresher tyres.

Verstappen finished the race just over a second clear of Hamilton, having not put a wheel wrong in the tense closing laps, and Horner praised how his driver had kept his cool in the face of relentless pressure.

"I think it's up there," Horner said, when asked whether it was Verstappen's best win.

"I think he managed the race incredibly well. We didn't have a great start, but we were able to get the win back and it was an aggressive strategy. We went for it and were able to make it work.

"It was a big win for us at a circuit that obviously Lewis and Mercedes have been dominant at in the hybrid era."

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F1 2021 US Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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