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Horner: Verstappen 'aware of penalty risk' in Spain fastest lap push

The World Champion was on the verge of receiving a penalty in the Spanish Grand Prix

Max Verstappen "was aware" of the risk of receiving a potential Formula 1 penalty in the Spanish Grand Prix during his fastest lap push, according to Christian Horner. The Red Bull driver was on course for a Grand Chelem in Barcelona, just needing the fastest lap bonus point - which he ultimately secured with a 1:16:330 on Lap 61 of 66 - to secure the rare feat of winning from pole and leading every lap. Verstappen's dominance was so great in Spain that the only session of the weekend he did not lead was Q1 - but was on the verge of a penalty in the race after receiving a black and white flag for track limits. He was warned about this by his race engineer, but continued with the push for the extra point regardless, and Horner says Verstappen judged the risk.

Verstappen's fastest lap push

"He broke track limits at Turn 5 on two laps and then he did it again at Turn 10, so he was very surprised," Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com . "I think he didn't realise there was a limit there, so his engineer (Gianpiero Lambiase) was just informing him of 'one more strike and it's a penalty' and not to take any risks for the fastest lap. "The relationship they have is almost like an old married couple debating about which television channel they should be watching. "Max was totally in control, he was aware of the risk and was able to do fastest lap quite comfortably."

Starting on Mediums

While a majority of the field took the Soft tyres to start the race, Red Bull elected to do so on the Mediums for both cars, deploying a Medium-Hard-Soft strategy with both Verstappen and fourth-place finisher Sergio Perez. "It was maybe a bit on the conservative side [to start on Mediums]," Horner said. "We were concerned that the Soft tyre would degrade quite quickly and put you on the cusp of a three-stop, so we were a little bit more conservative with Max. "With Checo, we felt that it would give him longer range to make better use of the pace of the car, and that played out pretty well for him in the end. "It was a phenomenal performance by Max today, the most challenging part of the race for him was actually the start and being the only two cars to start on the Mediums. "The start was good but he had to be firm but fair with Carlos into the first turn, and then he managed the race brilliantly well and we ran all three compounds today, and he had the pace to cover whatever was going on behind him, and built a 24 second gap by the end of the race, so an outstanding performance."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix