Red Bull admits being surprised by Max Verstappen’s first pit stop at the Spanish Grand Prix, as the team says they didn’t call him in.

Verstappen’s stop took four seconds, two seconds longer than the usual pit stop for Red Bull. Team principal Christian Horner admits the stop from the Dutchman was a surprise, as the crew was still gearing in and Verstappen wasn’t called by his engineer yet.

“We were gearing for the stop, but then Max just arrived in the pit lane and we hadn’t actually called him at that point,” he said.

“It was a quick reaction from the pit wall, from GP, from his race engineer, from the pit creat to get that turned around without losing more time,” he said, praising his team’s efforts. “I think it was a four-second stop.

“So they recovered incredibly well to get that turned around at that short notice.”

Horner said they expected Mercedes to pit Hamilton as a reaction to Verstappen’s slow stop, but admitted the Silver Arrows had a clear performance advantage, hence why the 7-time world champion was not called in.

“Because we’d had that slow stop, we thought they would immediately [pit] that next lap. Obviously, they didn’t. We got back the track position.

“But they just looked like they’d got a quicker car today. They didn’t have the tire wear, they were able to follow so closely and because the field [spread] to such a degree that it did, that just gave them all the options.

“It didn’t look like they were going to pass Max on-track on the same strategy. So they’ve got nothing to lose by taking a pit stop into that clean air and of course, it worked out for them today.”

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