Martin Whitmarsh has refused to be drawn over whether Lewis Hamilton should let Pastor Maldonado pass rather than risk an accident, saying he's a "racer" and will always race.
Hamilton's European Grand Prix came to a crashing conclusion on the penultimate lap when he was slammed into the barriers by Maldonado while fighting over third place.
And although the accident was deemed to be Maldonado's fault, there were some suggestions in the hours after the race that Hamilton should have given up the position as his tyres were 'all-but shot'.
Asked the question by Sky Sports F1, Whitmarsh said: "He's a racer and he's going to race. Maldonado the same.
"I suspect they'll both rue what happened and they both were penalised by it.
"It's of course frustrating for everyone involved when that sort of thing happens but if you're in that sort of situation and you're fighting hard these things happen."
In light of the end result, Whitmarsh says McLaren's botched pit stop, which some argue set up the accident as it dropped Hamilton down the order, was the least of the team's worries.
"It was an equipment failure so the front jack failed and dropped the car, so they had to switch jacks," he said.
"So no fault of the individuals but still frustrating. Ultimately of course not the biggest crisis of our day."