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According to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, Max Verstappen could have won the Singapore GP if the competition had not received a ‘free’ pit stop.
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez started the race on the hard tire compound and strategically they tried to continue as long as possible. However, on lap 20 the safety car came onto the track after Logan Sargeant hit the wall. The drivers who started on the medium tire were therefore able to make a ‘free’ pit stop with much less time lost. On the other hand, they had to continue on their set of tires for longer.
At Red Bull they decided to continue on the hard tire compound, but as a result they lost positions at the restart. Towards the end of the race they made up some places, but not enough to claim victory or a podium place.
“Our pre-race simulations expected a finish around seventh place,” said Horner. “But that is during a standard race.”
“I think if, ironically, we had had a standard race, that strategy with Carlos holding everyone up at the front to control tire wear, Max would certainly have been able to compete at the end of the race.”
“When you look at the gap, when you see what the delta was compared to the leaders, when you take away the delta from the ‘free’ pit stops, then Max suddenly joins in.”
Max Verstappen ultimately finished fifth, just behind Charles Leclerc, and about 21 seconds behind race winner Carlos Sainz.