The Austrian Grand Prix has been full of incidents for Red Bull’s Checo Perez. Many know about the double contact with Charles Leclerc but also his early clash on Lando Norris is not to be forgotten.
After few laps from the beginning of the race, Norris and Perez fought aggressively for the P2 position, right at Turn 4, and it ended with Checo in the gravel.
The FIA decided to go against their usual behaviour to “let them race” and sanctioned both drivers.
Despite having criticized his driver for being too aggressive during the whole race, Christian Horner claims “dangerous” the decision of punish the drivers, because it can build up a wrong attitude, a witty will of inducing the contestant to commit a mistake and be punished. Call it “Euro 2020” fever or not, this behaviour is common through footballers, not drivers who usually try their best to win a position on the track, fairly.
“You don't want the equivalent of footballers taking a dive, I think we need to avoid that- states Horner, who believes both incidents should have been penalty-free.
“I know it's incredibly difficult, because we talk about these things very often, and it’s difficult for the race director, but I did feel that maybe the incidents that we did see could have been leant to more racing incidents than been deserving of penalties.- he adds up. -The incident between Checo and Lando, that's racing. You go around the outside, you take the risk, particularly when you're not in a position of being ahead. But I think the FIA, having awarded that [first] penalty, then couldn't not award a penalty for a very similar move with Charles.”
The Briton then talks about the strategy that they used on Verstappen, forcing the Dutchman to an extra pit, in order to avoid another mistake like the one that happened in Baku.
“I think that one-stops, after Azerbaijan, and when you’ve got a 25 second lead with a free pit stop, why take the risk?- the Red Bull team principal points out.
“We could see there was a small cut. It wasn’t significant but it was enough to catch your attention, so the only risk was the stop itself. The guys had it phenomenally at just under two seconds. They turned the car around quickly, Max did a great job and then bettered his own fastest lap. It just gave us a lower risk run to the finish, so it was a prudent thing to do." - Horner tells the media, considering that yesterday’s win brought Verstappen an advantage of 32 precious points over Hamilton at the wake of the British GP. Once again, prudence and correct choices can be more reliable than a perfect car to win the Championship.
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