Red Bull thinks its wet weather tyre gamble in the Brazilian Grand Prix was worth it, even though it forced Max Verstappen to work hard to get back to a podium spot.
Verstappen had been running second early on in the restarted race – after brilliant moves past Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg – when Red Bull felt that conditions were good enough for a switch to intermediates.
But despite an initial pace advantage, the rain got heavier and Red Bull had to take the difficult decision to change the Dutchman back to full wets – dropping Verstappen down to 14th place.
A series of brilliant overtaking moves helped Verstappen get back up to third place, and Red Bull boss Christian Horner said his outfit should have few regrets because it wanted to do something different to challenge for victory.
"We were going for the win," he said. "With 20/20 hindsight it's of course easy to say now that the rain intensified and the extreme turned out to be the better tyre. But it could have so easily flipped and it was right on that cusp as [Daniel] Ricciardo was setting those purple sectors.
"You could see that the Williams of [Felipe] Massa was finding pace every lap, going quicker and quicker. And, as we've seen with these intermediates so often, they are very often the quicker tyre as soon as you generate any temperature in them, significantly quicker."
With Verstappen's rear extreme wets having started to go off as he chased eventual winner Lewis Hamilton anyway, Horner felt that ultimately second place was the best the team was going to get if it did not take a strategy gamble.
"I think it would have been difficult to challenge Lewis," said Horner. "We managed to get to second position, but Lewis seemed to have the pace to cover us so that's why we took a slight risk with the strategy to roll the dice.
"Hopefully the intermediate would come alive. It became apparent when the rain slightly increased that we needed to abort that strategy, which is quite painful behind the safety car because you drop back a significant amount of positions.
"But the speed he came back through the field, not losing time, we could see he was catching on Perez who was on the podium position with 10 laps to go. Even when he was making passes he was gaining time."