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Red Bull Racing

Red Bull's Schmitz explains Verstappen's race-winning strategy

Red Bull strategist Hannah Schmitz has explained the decision-making behind Verstappen's route to the Hungarian Grand Prix victory, and where it went wrong for Ferrari.

Hannah Schmitz
To news overview © Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull's Hannah Schmitz has detailed how the team's strategic decisions put Max Verstappen into the race lead in Hungary, and where Ferrari's strategy fell short.

Verstappen completed a remarkable victory at the Hungarian GP from 10th on the grid to extend his championship lead to 80 points.

Red Bull and Ferrari went in different directions with pit strategy; the Red Bulls started on Soft tyres, and the Ferraris started on Mediums.

With Verstappen making strong progress, a decision to undercut the leading cars eventually put him into the lead of the race, where he went on to take the win.

Red Bull's Principal Strategy Engineer Schmitz explained that the strategy decision to start on the Soft tyres was partly down to feedback from the drivers on the pre-race lap to the grid.

"Because we were starting out of position, one of the more 'classic' strategies to do is to start on the harder tyre and go much longer, particularly with overtaking being difficult in Hungary," Schmitz told Sky Sports' Any Driven Monday.

"But we had also actually talked a lot pre-race about if the conditions are a bit damp and very cool, that we could consider the Soft tyre as the alternative, just because that might be better in those conditions.

"Then on the laps the grid both drivers were very vocal about having hardly any grip, even though they already had the Soft tyre.

"We all had a long discussion about it – with Christian [Horner] as well – and decided to change to the Soft tyres. There was a little bit of rain in the air as well, so really that was the better tyre for those conditions.

"Really our concern was whether we can make enough progress in that first stint to make it worth it, but obviously both drivers made great progress."

Schmitz explains Ferrari's "tricky" strategy dilemma

The race will perhaps be remembered for Ferrari's tyre strategy, which many pundits and F1 personnel have concluded to have been incorrect.

Having run two sets of Mediums, they opted to pit Charles Leclerc to react to Verstappen's undercut attempts.

Their decision to run Hard tyres backfired, and Leclerc lost time and positions with tyre warm-up difficulties, eventually finishing in sixth place.

Schmitz believed that Ferrari went the wrong way with their "tricky" final tyre choice.

"I think it was a really exciting race for a strategist because we got to do a lot of the 'classic' strategy, trying to make the undercuts work, which was really exciting compared to a one-stop race or something," added Schmitz.

"I guess Ferrari at that point, because they started on the Medium tyres and used two set of Mediums, only really had the Hard or the Soft tyres [remaining].

"For them, it was maybe a trickier call in that situation. Fortunately, because we had started on the Soft, we then had the two sets of Mediums for the rest of the race, which really ended up being the best race tyre by quite a long way."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Did Ferrari snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Hungarian Grand Prix, including Ferrari's botched tyre strategy for Charles Leclerc.

F1 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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