Red Bull explains Verstappen’s slow pace in the final laps of Italian GP

Red Bull explains Verstappen's slow pace in the final laps of Italian GP

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has explained what transpired that led the pitwall to instruct Max Verstappen to slow down in the closing laps of the Italian GP race.

Max Verstappen achieved a new F1 record by winning his 10th straight race on Sunday at the Italian GP, and Red Bull set a new mark by winning 15 straight races as a constructor.

However, Verstappen’s laptimes dropped significantly in the closing laps of the race, and he had to keep up with and pass a feisty Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari.

Verstappen had been consistently setting lap times in the 1:25s for the majority of the second part of the race, but with four laps remaining, his pace abruptly dipped to the 1:27s and even the 1:28s.

Verstappen later clarified why his pace had slowed down, showing a clear desire to avoid approaching lapped traffic ahead too rapidly, which included a group of cars that included Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, and Zhou Guanyu.

“A few laps from the end, I had to really drastically slow down to make it to the end,” the reigning world champion said after the race.

“I haven’t spoken to the team yet about what issue or what the issue was really. They just told me what I had to do. I did that to the end.

“Luckily, of course, we had the gap behind, so I could just take it quite easy to the end.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner gave a vague answer when asked about the issues the Dutch driver was experiencing as he closed in on his record-breaking 10th career victory. Horner suggested that temperatures on the RB19 were rising to an alarming level.

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“We were just managing some temperature issues,” he confirmed. “We just didn’t want to take any risks on a stinking hot day.

“We had a couple of temperatures that were…they were under control.

“But there were a bunch of cars ahead of Gasly and we just didn’t want to run in dirty air. So that’s why we took it a little bit easy in the last few laps.”

Given that Yuki Tsunoda had to retire with a suspected engine problem before the first race started and the AlphaTauri had the identical gearbox and engine as the Red Bulls, Horner admitted that it didn’t feel pleasant to see the sister car retire.

“Always uncomfortable, because they’ve got the same gearboxes, the same engine,” he said. “So there are a lot of common components.

“It wasn’t comfortable to see that car pulling off on the formation lap.”

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