Christian Horner Criticized Mercedes’ Strategy at the Monaco Grand Prix

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner criticized Mercedes’ strategy at the Monaco Grand Prix, calling it “defeatist.”

An early red flag allowed drivers to change tires, eliminating the need for mandatory pit stops and opening the door for strategic gambles. Most teams, including Mercedes’ George Russell (who finished fifth), opted to run long stints. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was one of the few who pitted, finishing behind Russell.

Horner questioned Mercedes’ decision to have Russell manage pace early on before pushing later. “I didn’t really understand Mercedes’ race today,” Horner said. “It was a hugely conservative race by George, to give up so much time and then go so fast at the end of the race, it didn’t really make a lot of sense.”

“They weren’t going to overtake anybody,” Horner continued. “It was just a very defeatist race to try and defend fifth.”

Horner also downplayed Verstappen’s frustrations throughout the Monaco weekend. “Listen to Max’s comments over the last 10 years,” Horner said. “He’s just very direct, he’s very forthright and it just focuses everyone.”

Russell, commenting on his race, said: “It was a long, old race, a strange race. The first 30 laps we were tootling around. When Max pitted I put my foot down and it was only afterwards I realised how much we closed the gap on the Ferrari and McLarens. I was really pleased about that.”

“Max put me under a bit of pressure but it was pretty under control,” Russell added. “The only hope of a good race in Monaco was a bit of spiciness with strategy but then strategy was out of the window. We got the maximum we could.”