Max Verstappen says there was nothing more he could do in F1 Spanish GP as Christian Horner defends Red Bull Racing pit call.

While on Friday, it looked like Mercedes will face a stiff challenge from Red Bull in the F1 Spanish GP on race pace, the game changed on Sunday as the latter did not have any answers to at least one of its cars with Lewis Hamilton running away nicely.

It wasn’t easy for Verstappen as well as the tyre issues got him on the edge, where he asked his engineer and team to focus on their work rather than Mercedes. Eventually, he couldn’t do much once Hamilton pulled away as he was more defending second place.

He did manage to split the two Mercedes drivers as Valtteri Bottas lost it big time. “Clearly we were not in the race,” said Verstappen. “I don’t pay too much attention – we just have to focus on ourselves and not, like I said in the race as well.

“We have to just focus on ourselves and not try to look too much at the others, what they say or what they do because at the end of the day you cannot control that anyway so we just have to focus on ourselves, try to improve, try to be a bit more competitive and not just rely on softer compounds or whatever, with blistering.

“We just have to find a bit more performance in the car and the engine to be more competitive. Like in the race, towards the middle of that first stint when Lewis started to pick up the pace I couldn’t really follow so I knew that that was it for the race. I’m just going to manage my race from now on and try to make the best of it,” summed up Verstappen.

The idea from Red Bull was to not put Verstappen in traffic as they were trying to get him out ahead of the Racing Point cars. Horner defended the call as he felt that people in the engineering team can look through more data than the F1 driver racing.

“He obviously doesn’t have the visibility, the whole picture that the strategists have,” said Horner. “He’s ambitious and he’s competitive and he’s pushing, and you can hear that his engineer is fairly clear with him, in terms of his instruction and what his job is, and what the rest of the engineering team is up to.

“Because what we didn’t want to do is drop him back into traffic that would burn up the tyres. Of course, we weren’t confident that the stint length of the tyres as well, so by going too short, would put too much pressure on the end of the race. What’s incredible in the radio message is that he has so much capacity to have that conversation.

“It’s like he’s on a Sunday afternoon drive. These tyres were pretty horrible feeling for the drivers. He’s getting centered into the movement in the car, the wear in the car, and our race wasn’t against Lewis. It was more about keeping Valtteri behind us.”

Here’s how F1 Spanish GP panned out

Here’s what Carlos Sainz said on Max Verstappen