Christian Horner says Sebastian Vettel made the call not to change his soft tyres during the Monaco Grand Prix.
Vettel ended up running a 56-lap stint on the tyres. Horner said:
“Everything was under control until the pit stop, where we had a radio issue where the communication from the engineers just didn’t get received by the guys downstairs. So he came into the pits and they didn’t know what tyres they needed to be putting on the car.
“So he ended up with a set of primes on the car which weren’t what we intended. So we said ‘OK, now we need to engineer our way out of this’.”
The BBC’s Ted Kravitz, who saw the pit stop takes place, has disputed the claim Vettel received the wrong tyres.
Horner said Vettel chose to stay on the soft tyres after he had been given them:
“It wasn’t a bad thing because the prime [soft], we thought, ‘we’ll use it in the middle of the race and put the [super-] softs on at the end’.
“But Sebastian managed to make the prime work. We called him in and he said ‘no, no, no these tyres are fine, they’re fine’.
“So we said ‘OK, leave it’. And it was almost like going up to the casino and putting everything on red. And he made it work.
“It was down to his driving today and he managed to make the tyres go that long. In the end there was the accident, that very nasty accident that he managed to avoid.
“And the restart on the [super-] soft tyres was pretty comfortable for him in the end. But even without that I think he would have held on to win the Grand Prix.”
Horner doubts Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button could have overtaken Vettel even without the red flag towards the end of the race which allowed them to change his tyres:
“They were pushing so hard, and their tyres were obviously younger than Sebastian’s.
“But he was very smart because he kept pushing in the areas he needed to be quick. He needed to be quick onto the pit straight and he needed to be quick in the tunnel.
“On the rest of the track they weren’t going to overtake him. So he would back them up and then have a very clean exit and for me it was the most intelligent drive I’ve seen him race in his short career.”
Horner also praised Mark Webber’s recovery drive after being held up in the pits:
“Unfortunately at the pit stop we called them both on the same lap because there was a big enough gap and the radio, because it affected Seb it also affected Mark. His stop was delayed also.
“He lost out because of that but he gained back the time through, again, going very, very long on that middle stint and then a great number of passing moves at the end of the race. To come back to fourth from 15th, again, was a fantastic drive.”
Read the full review of Red Bull’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend here:
More from Horner in the video above.
2011 Monaco Grand Prix
- New video of Maldonado and Hamilton’s Monaco crash
- Vettel would have gone the distance in Monaco – Pirelli
- Williams: first points of 2011 “bittersweet”
- 2011 Monaco Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Vettel made call to stay out, says Horner
- Hamilton apologises to Massa and Maldonado
- Vote for your Monaco Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend
- McLaren: Hamilton loses cool after weekend of frustration
- Red Bull: Vettel takes another win under pressure
- Ferrari: Red flag decided the race
Image © Red Bull/Getty images