Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner says his team had nothing to lose by opting to put Mark Webber on a three-stop strategy in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Australian was battling with Jenson Button for third place in the early stages of the race, but at his second stop Red Bull Racing elected to keep him on the soft compound rather than switch him onto the medium to take him through to the end.
Although that move meant Webber would need to build up a big buffer over Button on the track to jump him at his final stop, Red Bull felt it was the right thing to do. Ultimately, Webber could not get far enough ahead of the McLaren before pitting for mediums on the last lap, so finished fourth.
"It was a situation where, because of the issue [of a slow tire change] at the first stop, we were behind Jenson and Felipe [Massa]," explained Horner. "If we had adopted the same strategy as them, we were likely to finish behind them.
"So at that point you say, 'OK, we have nothing to lose.' The likelihood of being beaten by [Nico] Rosberg was pretty slim, so we felt we would go for a three-stop and try and pull out a gap, which worked very well with Felipe.
"Unfortunately, Jenson was a bit too quick on the prime. We got to 12 seconds and needed 20 seconds, and it wasn't enough. But it was worth a roll of the dice."
Horner said that Webber's first pit stop had been ruined by a problem at the right rear, which cost him valuable time in the tight battle with Button and Massa.
"In the first one we had a nut come out of the socket on the right rear, which unfortunately cost him a few seconds," said Horner. "I think we would have been able to have jumped Jenson, but that then dropped him behind Jenson and Felipe. At that point we needed to do something different; otherwise, we would have just finished behind the two of them."
Horner revealed that Webber had also been slowed by a piece of rubber, believed to be from Sebastian Vettel's first-lap puncture, lodging itself underneath his car.
"It was a bit of rubber that had come off Sebastian's car that he managed to suck up," he explained. "I think it would have had a small effect, but Mark's pace was very good."