F1 | Azerbaijan GP | Christian Horner on team orders: "The priority is to maximise the points versus Ferrari."
Christian Horner talked to reporters about their strategy, team orders and the slow pit stop. He higlighted the importance of maximising points versus Ferrari.
It was a great day for the Red Bulls once again. Verstappen and Perez's 1-2, combined with Ferrari´s double DNF not only extended the lead from Ferrari but also gave Checo Perez the second position in the driver´s championship.
Christian Horner talked said to the reporters after the race on the strategy when Ferrari boxed Leclerc under VSC conditions early in the race: “It was right on the edge. We were gonna split our cars. We told Max to do the opposite of Leclerc. We felt that Max at that stage he had more pace than Charles. He was pushing him, but Charles in turn was benefiting from the tow of Checo, so the DRS effect wasn´t quite as large as it would normally be. So, we elected to stay out.
"It was so early and other than six laps of a long run on Friday, there was no knowledge of how these tyres would degrade, so strategy at that point was to give as big an overlap in terms of fresher tyres to our drivers without the gap growing too big to Charles. So that was obviously the thinking behind it.
"It´s a shame it didn't play out because I think we did have a great race car today and I think that 8 or 9 overlap with the drivers... that would have been a sufficient advantage to hopefully make the pass on them.”
About the switch and no fighting message Checo received and how unfair it could be to the Mexican, Horner explained: “The pace difference between the two drivers was so significant we discussed it this morning about 'look if you´re racing each other just give each other space' and they did that today.
"2018 isn´t too far away in the back of our minds. It´s very important the drivers at this stage of the championship are fair with each other because the priority is to maximise the points versus Ferrari. We know they've got a very quick car at the moment. We´ve seen how quickly things turn around. So as a team we needed to prioritise that.”
On Checo´s slow pitstop, Horner explained: “We had a gun failure. So, we had to change the gun. Thankfully it didn´t cost him a position or track position.”
On team orders and whether they´ll keep using them, the team principal explained: “I think today wasn´t strictly team orders. It was just a question of a faster car and a slower car. Max had a significant pace advantage on Checo at that point; he had quite heavy graining on his rear tyres. So it was just a question of 'guys, let´s not put each other against the pitwall here if one car is quicker... concede. Let´s just focus on getting the best result for the team'.”