Christian Horner says Mercedes ‘let Ferrari off the hook’ with Lewis Hamilton tyre call in British Grand Prix

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes Mercedes let Ferrari off the hook with their decision to switch Lewis Hamilton on to hard compound tyres instead of softs.

The seven-time world champion was in the lead of the race having not pitted following the first lap restart and was comfortable on medium tyres.

Yet when Mercedes brought Hamilton in on lap 33, instead of the quicker but less durable soft tyres, the Silver Arrows put the Brit on the safer hard compound to see out the remaining 19 laps of the race. However he did pit again due to a late safety car.

But Horner believes Toto Wolff’s team missed a trick with Hamilton competing in and around Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, with Sainz eventually winning the Grand Prix for his first victory in Formula 1.

Hamilton ended up finishing third, as he came out behing the two Ferraris following a slow pit stop before the late drama via the safety car.

“I was actually surprised that Lewis, with the amount of laps to go, and the degradation that he’s shown, didn’t take a soft,” Horner said.

Hamilton came out behind the two Ferraris after his pit stop (AFP via Getty Images)
Hamilton came out behind the two Ferraris after his pit stop (AFP via Getty Images)

“He went onto the hard tyre on lap 33 and I actually thought he was going to go on to the soft, because that would have made it much easier for him to make the offset in grip.

“It felt like they [Ferrari] have maybe been let off the hook there.”

Horner’s drivers had a mixed day at the office, with Sergio Perez finishing second after being pushed to the back of the field early on for a pit stop due to front wing damage.

However, Championship leader Max Verstappen suffered a puncture while in the lead of the Grand Prix, with irreparable bodywork damage causing a drop in performance too.

Yet the world champion finished seventh - picking up six valuable points - and his lead at the top to team-mate Perez is now 37 points ahead of Red Bull’s home race at the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend.

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