Christian Horner believes that Mercedes hampered their own United States Grand Prix by deciding to copy Red Bull's strategy too late.
Following a closely contested first stint, Max Verstappen still had plenty of work on track following the first round of pitstops.
A delayed decision to move towards a two-stop strategy cost Lewis Hamilton time, as he was left on track with old medium tyres, and was subsequently undercut by Verstappen.
Ultimately, Hamilton was unable to make up for the five seconds lost due to pitting multiple laps after Verstappen and was left to rue a host of errors throughout the race – which included poorly executed pitstops, a crucial lockup, and the late strategy call.
Horner: Mercedes found themselves in no man’s land
“I think Mercedes found themselves in no man's land today,” Horner told Sky Sports F1 after the race. “They sort of attempted a one [stop], aborted, and then took the better tyre, the medium tyre, for the final stint. But thankfully we had just enough to hold them off.
“The debate was do we run the hard [tyre] in the middle stint or the medium. We knew going up against Lando that they'd committed to the two hards.
“So, we knew going medium-medium was crucial for Max to make use of that to get the pass done and get the track position and then run our fastest race to the end of the race.”
The main takeaway from the weekend for Red Bull will be that Mercedes’ upgrades may help them become serious contenders for wins at each of the last four races.
With Red Bull refusing to upgrade their car after the summer break, Mercedes will be worried that any ground they have made up could be lost as soon as the Austrian outfit reveal their 2024 challenger, regardless of their own strategy woes.
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.