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Christian Horner

Verstappen faced two major problems in Imola win - Horner

The Red Bull boss was reacting after Max Verstappen just fended off Lando Norris late on in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Horner Verstappen Imola
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen was facing two major problems in the closing stages of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to avoid a track limits penalty, Christian Horner has said. 

In the closing laps at Imola, leader Verstappen was being hunted down by McLaren's Lando Norris, the Briton carving chunks of time out of the Red Bull. 

Norris would close to within a second of Verstappen at the flag, but the Dutchman held on to claim a 59th career win, third straight at Imola and fifth from seven races in 2024. 

As well as a warning for track limits, Horner also revealed that Verstappen was battling falling tyre temperatures that was costing him pace.

"He was under massive pressure as he had three strikes for track limits and couldn't afford to put a millimetre wrong with all that pressure," Horner told Sky Sports F1. 

"It was a great, great job by Max withstanding the pressure as Lando was coming hard at the end, but it was a race of two-halves for us. 

"The first half of the race was very strong, we built up to a seven-and-a-half, eight second lead, but then the second-half, Lando started to catch us very quickly. 

"We built up a big lead on the medium, and then halfway through the hard stint, we started to lose the temperature in the tyre, which is a very hard compound. 

"The McLaren just worked it a bit harder, and they sae the benefit from that in the second half of the race."

After a torrid Friday practice, Red Bull was struggling with the balance and grip of the car, as Verstappen suffered a number of uncharacteristic trips through the gravel. 

Despite turning the car around for qualifying and the race, Horner felt it was a "very hard" victory for Verstappen.

"We came here a bit on the backfoot on Friday, the team worked really long hours and Sebastien Buemi did a great job in the simulator into the early hours of Saturday morning," Horner added. 

"We made a step forward in FP3, and Max got that incredible poll and then we obviously managed to convert it and Max had to be at the very top of his game - it was a very, very hard victory."

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