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Formula 1 Miami GP

Horner: Verstappen used “damage” in Miami F1 first sector to overcome Perez

Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner says Max Verstappen did “damage” early in the Miami Grand Prix lap that gave him a crucial advantage over team-mate Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

The first sector of the circuit, which includes eight turns, is largely comprised of a run of high-speed kinks.

Horner says in that particular area of the track Verstappen had an edge that ultimately enabled him to outpace Perez and claim victory.

The Dutchman started the race from ninth place after a red flag ended Q3 before he could complete his final flying lap, while Perez was on pole.

They took opposite strategies for the race, with Verstappen’s hard/medium choice ultimately beating Perez’s more obvious option of medium/hard.

Verstappen showed impressive pace throughout, notably when he was on older hard tyres than Perez in the middle part of the race.

PLUS: How Verstappen deployed an under-appreciated strong suit to defeat Perez in Miami

“It's just purely sector one, I think [Turns] 3, 4, 5 and 6,” said Horner when asked where Verstappen had the advantage.

“Max was outstanding in that sector. And I think the rest of the lap was much of a muchness. But sector one was where Max was really doing a lot of damage.”

Asked to expand, Horner added: “I think it's the way that the sequence of corners flows. It's hard to pinpoint any particular area of consistency.

“I think that Max was on fire through that sector all weekend. But it will vary from circuit to circuit.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing talks with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing talks with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Horner added that when their opposite strategies converged close to the end of the race, the two drivers stuck to their promise to treat each other with respect during a brief tussle, before Verstappen completed the inevitable pass.

“We discussed it [on Sunday] morning,” said Horner. “I said to them you're free to race, but just keep it clean. And respect the team and respect each other.

“I felt they did that. They raced firmly but fairly, and they gave each other enough space and respect.”

Horner stressed that despite losing out after starting from pole Perez could still be pleased with his overall performance.

“Max was truly outstanding. But there's still a long, long way to go,” he said.

“I think there's only 14 points between the two drivers, and 18 races to go and five sprint races.

PLUS: The Verstappen/Red Bull dynamic that shows the scale of Perez's F1 title task

“So still an awful lot that can happen. I'm sure [Perez] was disappointed not to convert it into a victory. But he's still taking away very valuable points.”

He added: “I think he'll want to understand where that time difference was in the middle part of the race.”

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