Christian Horner has claimed that ‘a stroke of luck’ helped Lewis Hamilton to finish second at the Mexican Grand Prix behind Max Verstappen, claiming that the Mercedes driver would have finished behind both Ferraris without the red flag stoppage.
After an eventful opening couple of laps that saw Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc make contact, Hamilton was running in fourth place behind Verstappen and both Ferrari drivers. Stuck behind the rear wing of Carlos Sainz, Mercedes opted to bring the seven-time world champion in for the undercut on lap 24.
Ferrari had opted to stay out and run long, attempting to offset Hamilton’s tyre advantage as both teams committed to a one-stop strategy. Unfortunately, Kevin Magnussen brought out the red flag on lap 33, allowing all drivers to make a free pit stop ahead of the race restart.
With Hamilton restarting on medium compound tyres and both Ferraris on the hards it was expected that they would reel the British driver back in at the end of the race, but Mercedes’ superior tyre wear allowed the 38-year-old to maintain a comfortable gap to Leclerc in P3.
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Discussing Hamilton’s result, Horner told Viaplay: “They had a bit of a stroke of luck because they went in very early for a one-stop strategy. I think in the end they would have been beaten by the Ferraris. But it is true that they had good speed and did well in terms of tyre wear, as we have seen from them all year.”
The red flag did little to help race leader Verstappen with Horner explaining: “It completely neutralized our race but the good thing at that moment was that Charles switched to the hard tyre just like us. We were afraid that he would go for the medium compound. Then Max had it completely under control again.”
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These comments followed a cheeky dig at Hamilton earlier in the weekend after the Mercedes man spoke out in support of Checo and against some of the Red Bull hierarchy who continue to put him under pressure.
To those comments, Horner replied: “It’s very nice that Lewis has so much care and attention when he was questioning the validity of Max’s team-mate only a few weeks ago. Look, there’s always rumours that are circulating in this paddock, especially when there’s very little to write about.”
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