“Our focus was on Lewis” – Red Bull would have let Valtteri Bottas win the Dutch Grand Prix as long as Max Verstappen finished ahead of chief rival Lewis Hamilton.
Zandvoort presented a fascinating race, with Mercedes and Red Bull looking to beat each other on tyre strategy. The former split theirs between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, putting Hamilton on a two-stopper, but keeping Bottas on the track for the race lead.
For Red Bull, it worked out perfectly as Max Verstappen was quick enough to overtake Bottas and cruise to victory eventually. But it could easily have been the other way round had Bottas done enough to make their ‘long’ strategy work.
celebrations from a simply lovely Sunday pic.twitter.com/2WawhRSjet
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) September 5, 2021
Interestingly, Red Bull boss Christian Horner admits they would have been okay with Bottas winning, as long as Max Verstappen finished ahead of Hamilton.
“Our focus was on Lewis. He’s the closest competitor, so he was the one we had to choose between the two, even if there was a risk of conceding the race. It was important to score those points against Lewis.
“We expected them [Mercedes] to split this strategy, which they did. They had two cars in play, so going aggressive with Lewis, and long with Valtteri.
“Because the two stop was the faster race, the crucial part of it was to make sure that we repassed Valtteri immediately. And Max did that.
“That then opened up opportunities to make the second half of the race much more manageable. If he had spent a lot of laps behind Valtteri, that could have exposed us to the undercut.”
Also Read “We have had very constructive discussions with Williams and with Alfa” – Christian Horner asserts Red Bull will not release Alex Albon from their contract to facilitate his move to a Mercedes-backed team