Red Bull's Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen would have beaten Sergio Perez to the checkered flag in Miami had he opted, like the Mexican, for a medium to hard strategy in the race.
Perez opted to start his race on Pirelli's C3 medium compound to capitalize on his pole position, the Mexican switching to the hard tyre after 20 laps, while Verstappen launched his race on the hards which he conserved for a whopping 45 laps before concluding his victorious run with a short 12-lap stint on the mediums.
Interestingly, Red Bull's simulations favored Perez's medium-to-hard plan which was forecasted to win by three seconds.
But Verstappen's remarkable charge on the hards put the two-time world champion within just a few car lengths of his teammate when he emerged from his pit stop.
Thereafter, overhauling the Mexican was a mere formality. But Horner suggested that a medium-to-hard run for Verstappen would have led to the same outcome.
"I think if he'd been on the other strategy as well the performance would have been very similar today," said the Red Bull chief.
"I think he was obviously frustrated with himself after quali, that he made a mistake, and then obviously didn't get the chance to rectify that.
"And I think he was confident coming into the race today, and just wanted to do something slightly different."
Although Verstappen and his engineers opted for the theoretically slower strategy, Horner gave his driver a free rein.
"The strategy obviously is discussed, all the numbers are run overnight, and we weighed up the pros and cons," he said.
"His engineering team and Max were keen to give that a run today. I was happy to sign it off and say if that's what you want to do, then okay."
After the race, Perez said that the medium had proven much weaker than anticipated, which had compromised his chances of success.
But Horner dismissed the Mexican's claim.
"In the first 10 laps, he was very much managing the pace, and I think he was nervous about the front-right and we started to see other teams start to get a bit of graining," Horner commented.
"I think he was driving well within himself and the car to protect that front-right, and then he started to push after the first 10 laps and start to build a lead.
"Probably with 20-20 hindsight, if he looked at the race again he would push harder in that first stint because the Medium tyre actually turned out to be a very good tyre as we saw with Fernando [Alonso] actually going quite a long way [until Lap 25 before pitting]."
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