Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has revealed the reason behind the decision to deny Charles Leclerc's wish to swap positions with Carlos Sainz at the end of the São Paulo Grand Prix.
The duo finished third and fourth at Interlagos after Mercedes secured its first victory of the season with Geroge Russell topping the podium for the first time.
Although switching the order of its two drivers would not have altered Ferrari's overall points haul from the weekend, placing Leclerc as the lead car would have seen him arrive in Abu Dhabi with an advantage over Sergio Perez in the drivers' battle.
Instead, the pair enter the season finale level on points, with Leclerc ahead on countback of wins.
But as Binotto revealed, a switch presented a greater risk to the team fearing a penalty for Sainz after the Spaniard was caught up in confusion surrounding Yuki Tsunoda unlapping himself behind the safety car.
Fernando Alonso was also lurking behind, ready to pounce on any mistake.
“Swapping the two cars on the last straight was certainly tricky because Charles had got Fernando and Max [Verstappen] just behind," said Binotto.
“So certainly, it would have been tricky and dangerous.
“But more than that, we knew that we were under investigation for what happened behind the safety car with Tsunoda.
"We were cleared by race control at the time so we were quite comfortable at the time but without having a conclusion on that matter, it would have been risky because five seconds penalty would mean that then Carlos would have been losing more than one position.
“For the constructors’ championship, it was certainly better to stick with the positions and the gaps on track.”