While Verstappen secured pole position for his home race, he was left open to attack in terms of strategy with the Mercedes pair running directly behind him.
Contributing to this was Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez’s failure to cross Q1 when he was discharged too late from the pits on his last attempt.
With little difference in knowing which one-stop or two-stop strategy is best for tomorrow’s race, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has made it clear that his team is willing to cover both options – likely leaving Verstappen in the awkward position of choosing which strategy.
“I think if we have the same pace in the race, then again it’s going to be about going one stop,” he said.
He added: “Max needs to make up his mind. Will he take one stop or go with two stops?”
“I think we can apply both strategies tomorrow. We’ve seen that you can fit your car into two completely different strategies, of course stopping one, doing an Anderkat with a lot of pressure, and then leaving the other car on the track, which can help achieve duality”.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is aware of the advantage Mercedes could have, but says it would be ridiculous to focus on anything other than Verstappen’s defeat of main rival Lewis Hamilton.
He said: “We won’t focus on anything other than our race. But I don’t think it will be easy. They have two drivers with whom they can separate strategy. But the main driver we want to beat is Lewis for sure, so you have to choose your battles.”