Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen exploited the "vulnerabilities" of Carlos Sainz when battling for the lead of the Italian Grand Prix.
Sainz held on to the lead for 14 laps before making a critical mistake at Turn 1, which enabled Verstappen to get alongside through Curva Grande and make a move on the inside at the Della Roggia chicane.
It was clear the straight line speed of the SF-23 was a big factor in enabling Sainz to stay ahead, with him also attempting to break the tow down the start/finish straight.
When asked if Verstappen was biding his time, Horner told media, including RacingNews365: "We were flat out, we were pushing incredibly hard and the Ferrari's were fighting hard and it was a straight fight.
"Max is very smart in that situation where he was pushing Carlos' vulnerabilities to get him to use his tyre.
"He obviously got close a couple of times down at Turn 1, but then was finally able to make it make it stick."
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Horner: Max could see Ferrari were harder on tyres
Verstappen remarked over team radio that he saw the rear of Sainz's SF-23 starting to slide a couple of laps before he made the move for the lead.
Horner said the team anticipated that the hot temperatures would play a part in the opening stages of the race.
"Ferrari was very, very fast on the straights and I think Max could see they were a little bit harder on the rear tyre," said Horner.
"That was that was part of our strategy in terms of the setup that we adopted, knowing that the temperatures were going to be a little bit higher."