Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has backed the FIA’s stewards for choosing not to punish Max Verstappen after he drove rival Lewis Hamilton off the track in Sunday’s São Paulo Grand Prix.
Hamilton started 10th on the grid in his Mercedes but made his way through the field to challenge Verstappen for the lead on lap 48, with the pair almost colliding when the Red Bull driver put up a robust defence.
Asked about the lack of a penalty for the incident, Horner said: “It’s two guys running hard. Lewis has got a run around the outside, Max has gone in deep, they have both gone wide. It would have been really unfair to penalise that.
“If it had been the other way around I would have told my sporting director to have a moan about it, but I wouldn’t have expected anything from it.
“There’s no advantage gained, there’s no contact been made. It’s just hard racing between the two of them and I think the stewards made the right decision on that.”
Horner: Let Hamilton and Verstappen race
The pair went wheel-to-wheel twice more in the race, with Hamilton finally finding a way past on lap 59 before going on to win the 101st race of his F1 career by almost 10.5secs.
The pair are now separated by just 14 points with a total of 78 still available from the remaining three races.
Horner hopes the stewards' approach to Sunday’s incident will set a precedent for the title run-in.
“We’ve talked many, many times about the ‘let them race’ mentality,” added Horner.
“You want to see the guys going hard at it.
"You know with Max he’s going to race hard, Lewis is exactly the same. That’s two guys fighting for a world championship, so there’s going to be tough racing.
"I think it was fair, there was no contact and they rejoined and recommenced it a few laps later.”