Newey defends Red Bull's Monaco pit strategy

Red Bull technical boss Adrian Newey has defended the team's strategy calls in Monaco, and insists that it wasn't clear whether pitting first or second would be the most successful option for the its drivers.

Newey defends Red Bull's Monaco pit strategy
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
 Third place Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, sprays Champagne from the podium
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were running in fourth and fifth behind Valtteri Bottas in the early stages of the race.

The team called in the Dutchman first – forcing Mercedes to react with Bottas – and subsequently Ricciardo stayed out for five extra laps, during which he put in some impressively fast times.

When he finally pitted he had jumped both his team mate and Bottas to claim third.

Verstappen made his frustration clear over the radio, and a similar situation unfolded at Ferrari, where Sebastian Vettel got ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, inevitably leading to claims that the Italian team had favoured its main title candidate.

However, Newey insists that it was not as clear cut as that, and that both Red Bull drivers knew before the race what the likely strategy was.

The team had not run the supersoft all weekend, saving a single set for the race, which added to the uncertainty.

"We discussed it before that if we were struck behind Bottas with our two cars, then we would split them," he told Motorsport.com.

"It wasn't clear before the race which was more powerful, the undercut or the overcut. The undercut got the warm-up on the first lap, the overcut depends on you having more natural pace.

"It was close. The undercut almost worked. Unfortunately we had a slightly slow pit stop [with Verstappen]. It was one of those judgement ones.

"Obviously if you're going to do one undercutting and one overcutting, whoever's ahead has the best chance of an undercut, so that's what we did."

Regarding Verstappen's frustration, he said: "We discussed it before the race, we said to both drivers in all honesty we don't know which is the better solution, the undercut or the overcut, and they both accepted it.

"It's the usual thing, when a driver gets out of the car he doesn't understand, his adrenalin is still up."

Newey said Red Bull's form in Monaco was encouraging as the latest updates paid off, although he concedes that the next two races in Montreal and Baku are likely to be more challenging, as power unit performance will be at a premium.

"Suffice to say we are likely to be less competitive in the next couple of events," he said. "They have similar characteristics, although not as extreme as Monza.

"At the moment we've been reasonably clear as third-best team. Obviously we've now got to try and move forwards to do more of what we did in Monaco.

"I think the car showed reasonably pace, and we've just got to keep working at it. Monaco is obviously a fairly unique circuit, but we've definitely improved the car. We had a few bits on it this weekend, to compliment what we did in Barcelona. So we've just got to keep pushing forwards."

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