Verstappen undercut made 'ballsy' two-stop call tougher - Red Bull

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Red Bull admit Max Verstappen's unexpected undercut on Lewis Hamilton actually made the decision to switch to a two-stop strategy tougher.

The Dutchman scored his second win in three races at Sunday's French Grand Prix, passing both Mercedes cars in what was a reverse situation from the Spanish GP, where Hamilton pitted twice and used fresher tyres to pass a one-stopping Verstappen for victory.

And that was quickly brought up by Red Bull boss Christian Horner post-race.

"[It was] payback basically. You know today was payback for Barcelona," he told Sky Sports.

Later, the Briton then explained the process that went into the decision to pit Verstappen again.

“Once we were on the hard tyre, we stopped on Lap 18, we were discussing [a second stop] around Lap 28 so sort of 10 laps later,” Horner said.

“Max was being pushed really hard, he wasn't able to be managing the tyres. Mercedes were telling their drivers to keep the pressure on us, and we thought they were very much gearing up for a two-stop themselves.

"The feedback from the car was that he didn't think you'd get to the end. The strategist presented the options in front of me and said we have got nothing to lose.

"So, we pulled the trigger and by putting Sergio [Perez] on the alternative strategy, we got both scenarios covered, which at that point in the race we weren't sure which one would work out."

The only small complication was that, at that time, Verstappen had just reclaimed the lead from Hamilton that he had lost at the start.

“It would have almost been easier if they'd have maintained track position because then we would have pulled the trigger anyway,” Horner continued.

"We thought before the race the undercut wasn't going to be as powerful as we saw today, but we went for it with Max and the pace on his out-lap was phenomenal.

"But to make that call to stop again when you're in the lead and all the tyres are looking okay, it was quite a ballsy call, but it was the fastest way we felt at the end of the race.”

And while Verstappen had been fastest all throughout Saturday, Horner also revealed why he thinks Red Bull stole one from Mercedes at Circuit Paul Ricard.

“I think strategically we were better in that race, I mean there's very, very little between the cars,” he said.

“I think arguably in the wind that we had today, their race pace looked a bit more comfortable for them, you know, with the winds, the Mistral is strong here, it was quite tricky out there.

“I think with a low downforce on the car it wasn't quite as secure as the Mercedes.”