SILVERSTONE -- Red Bull says Max Verstappen's late stop at the British Grand Prix was the most sensible thing to do after seeing Kimi Raikkonen suffer a tyre dramatic tyre delamination.
Raikkonen's dramatic tyre issue came with three laps remaining, with Verstappen running fifth behind Sebastian Vettel. However, the teenager had also been suffering from severe tyre degradation and Red Bull decided to call him in immediately after seeing Raikkonen's delamination to pit for a fresh set of tyres to avoid a similar incident.
Eventually, the stop turned out to have been the right call, as Vettel suffered a front left puncture in the other Ferrari, allowing Verstappen to jump to fourth. Verstappen had suggested over his radio that the stop was not necessary but team boss Christian Horner believes the team would have risked losing a lot of points.
"From about lap 14 Max's front tyres were starting to go away," Horner said. "We didn't feel that it was dangerous to the end of the race because he had not locked the front tyres at all, and done a pretty good job at looking after them.
"We wanted to be within any action that may or may not happen with Bottas, and then Sebastian started to look like he had some issues. Then Kimi had his delamination. And if we would have been able to stay ahead we would have stayed out.
"At the Safety Car line just before he boxed we were 3 seconds behind including a standard pit stop, so we decided better play safe. Pit and go from there. And that's when Sebastian's tyre let go and we benefitted from that. So that was the rationale."
In the closing stages of his stint on soft tyres, Verstappen had repeatedly locked up his front tyres. Despite an exciting battle with Vettel in the first stint, the Dutchman doubts Red Bull had enough pace to claim a podium on merit.
"You have to be realistic - we were just not fast enough for the podium on pace," said Verstappen. "I think this was the best we could do. I got lucky with Seb's puncture, so this is OK. And I finished the race as well."
"You never really know, I just started locking a lot the inside-front wheel, the left front. Just to be sure, we pitted."