George Russell has revealed his motive behind checking that he and Mercedes were on the same page with regard to team orders late in the São Paulo Grand Prix.
The Briton secured his first F1 victory at Interlagos having led from the very start, leading home team-mate Lewis Hamilton home for a Mercedes one-two.
It was the first result of such for the team since Imola in 2020 and the only win of the season, ensuring the Silver Arrows avoided a first winless season since 2011.
Russell and Hamilton were line astern during a late safety car period, during which the eventual winner questioned over team radio whether the duo would be fighting or not.
The reply was that they would be racing in a "respectful" manner, though Russell never gave Hamilton a chance to make an assault.
READ MORE: Hamilton 'target on chest' claim after Verstappen São Paulo drama
Asked if he was surprised with the answer that was received, Russell replied: "Yes and no.
"We have always said we are free to race.
"Toto and the team have put a lot of faith and trust in Lewis and I. We have had a few side-by-side moments throughout this year and it has always been respectful and I think we have got a huge amount of respect for one another.
"I just wanted to understand our position because I knew how important the one-two was for the team.
"If we weren't racing, it was kind of like bring the car home. If we were racing, it was a quali-lap every lap and a risk in each corner because the lap had to be perfect.
"Obviously happy to have won it that way."