In a post-race interview, Christian Horner stated that Verstappen did the right choice by letting Hamilton overtake him, as he doubts the Dutch driver could have created a gap of 5 seconds.
The decision of Verstappen remains questionable for a lot of people. However, he followed the instructions of his team and Christian Horner looks proud of his driver who almost instantly handed his position back to Hamilton after illegally overtaking him.
Nonetheless, Red Bull’s team manager questions the positioning of the FIA concerning track limits regulations during the race. The team boss thinks the FIA should firmly position itself and stop giving a chance of interpretation to the regulations.
“Obviously Max then went wide on the pass there, which had been made clear before the race that if somebody got an advantage by going out there, they’d have to give it back. And he did that immediately and the team instructed him to do it following race control instructing us. (…) With these track limits things, they are always going to be contentious. But we do just need to have a consistent situation. (…) You can’t say ‘it’s okay to use it in a race, but you can’t overtake out there’. They should be black or white, they shouldn’t be shades of grey.” he says.
However, Horner remains happy about the behavior of his driver and thinks he did the right choice listening to the team and not to his own convictions during the race. Indeed, the Dutch prodigy thought he could have been able to create a five seconds gap after overtaking Hamilton that would have allowed him to keep his trophy in case of a five seconds penalty.
“We had an instruction from the race director to give the place back immediately. (…) Max was very sporting and did that,” says Horner.
“There’s no guarantee we could have got the five seconds if that had been the penalty (…) So he did the right thing,” he added.
This first event will definitely be a very frustrating one for Red Bull as it looked like they had the cards in hand to win the first Grand Prix of the season and give Mercedes a bitter taste of what they are able to do. Nevertheless, Toto Wolff’s team remains unsure about the performance of their single-seater compared to Red Bull’s, and if this tendency confirms, Red Bull should get many other opportunities to win races and maybe to clinch a so long awaited constructor’s championship.