“He did the right thing”- Christian Horner supports Max Verstappen allowing Lewis Hamilton to regain position due to off-track limit violation.
Max Verstappen heart would have been broken when he was forced to let Lewis Hamilton pass ahead. The Dutchman worked extremely hard throughout the race to be at the top and had his tyre management spot on.
But one minor error, and the whole hard work spoilt in seconds. Verstappen was hounding on Hamilton’s Mercedes during the last few laps and easily managed to overtake him.
But the 23-year-old lacked patience against the veteran, and instead of waiting on till another straight to overtake, he rushed and went off-track while going ahead, triggering a violation.
Now, Red Bull’s Christian Horner came in support of Verstappen for following the team orders, as the race control told the team to give Hamilton the spot back.
“We had an instruction from the race director to give the place back immediately,” Horner confirmed. “Max was very sporting and did that. It was frustrating, and Lewis had just enough to retain his position to the end of the race,” he said.
Avoided a harsher penalty
Though initially even Verstappen was against yielding his lead and let Hamilton pass, as the Dutchman believed that he would have gained a five-second gap against him in the remaining laps, Horner disagreed, fearing worse consequences.
“There’s no guarantee we could have got the five seconds if that had been the penalty,” said Horner. “So he did the right thing.”
The turn 4 confusion
The turn four over the weekend wasn’t allowed to be exploited, but on the race day, Mercedes was running on the limits, which propelled Red Bull to intervene.
“Both Lewis and Valtteri [Bottas] using the exit at turn four, so feel free to do the same until we’re told not to,” he was told. “Yeah, how is that legal, man?” he replied. “The whole weekend, we couldn’t do it.”
“We could see as soon as Mercedes started to push; they just used that part of the track,” said Horner. “We questioned with race control: If that’s the case, can we do this?”
“Because when you’re in a nip-and-tuck battle, there’s a two-tenth advantage using that part of the circuit. So they did it lap after lap. The race director then asked them to respect the limits. Otherwise, they’d get a black-and-white-flag [for unsportsmanlike conduct].”