• Chinese Grand Prix

Horner defends Vettel's two-stop strategy

ESPNF1 Staff
April 17, 2011 « Fuel saving cost me podium - Rosberg | »
Lewis Hamilton passed Sebastian Vettel for the lead on lap 52 thanks to fresher tyres © Sutton Images

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has defended his team's decision to run Sebastian Vettel on a two-stop strategy at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Vettel started from pole but fell behind the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton at the start. All three made their first pit stop within a lap of each other, but from that point onward Hamilton and Button were on fresher rubber as he pitted twice more and Vettel pitted just once more.

The battle was decided on lap 52 when Hamilton passed Vettel in turn seven thanks to his tyre advantage. After the race Horner said he had no regrets about his team's strategy after his drivers both finished on the podium.

"Second and third is still a fantastic result," he told the BBC. "We made our commitment to go with two stops, we thought we could make it work and we just came up four laps shy on making it work. It was a fascinating race that so nearly paid off for Sebastian."

He said a two-stop strategy was the best possible option available to the team after Vettel's poor start.

"We made the decision based on him being P3 at the time behind the McLarens because we felt it was the best way to beat them today and we very nearly did it," he added. "It was still a great job by Seb.

"If we'd have made three stops behind them then we would probably have stayed behind both of them so we decided to do something different to beat them. We thought we could make it work and we came within four or five laps of making it work, but P2 is still a great result."

He also praised Mark Webber's drive from 18th to third.

"With Mark, we effectively ran his race in reverse starting on the prime tyre and running a three stop strategy. It was a phenomenal recovery by him to get onto the podium, so an awesome job and strong pit stops from the team."