Horner ‘felt comfortable’ letting drivers race

Date published: October 3 2016

Christian Horner says he had no concerns letting Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen race to the line at Sepang as there is “real respect” between the two drivers.

The Red Bull pairing secured the team’s first 1-2 result since 2013 as Ricciardo claimed the Malaysian GP win ahead of Verstappen.

It was a thrilling end to the race for the team-mates as Verstappen hunted down the Aussie, closing the gap to 1.4s.

Ricciardo, though, was able to hold on to claim his first victory of this season.

It was a very different atmosphere to Red Bull’s last 1-2 at the Sepang circuit, which came in 2013 in controversial circumstances when Sebastian Vettel disobeyed team orders and passed Mark Webber.

“I made the decision,” Horner said in the wake of Sunday’s race.

“I instructed both race engineers: ‘you are free to race, but make sure we prioritise the 43 points. Ask the drivers to respect that’. And they did.

“From our perspective, it was fine to allow them to do that.

“They were both in the same engine modes, both in the same power state, so there was no real advantage one way or the other.

“At no stage was there a multi 21 (reference to the infamous 2013 incident).

“Two different drivers, different circumstances.

“What we’ve seen is that there is a real respect between the two of them.

“They are both good racers, hard racers. I felt comfortable letting the two guys go head-to-head.”