Christian Horner has praised Max Verstappen for playing the team game and not quibbling at the call to give up position to Daniel Ricciardo in the German Grand Prix as Red Bull celebrated its first double podium of 2016.
Despite the drivers coming close to blows through the first turn as Verstappen's daring outside line saw him spring from fourth to second, Red Bull's decision to split strategies in an effort to keep Nico Rosberg behind would ultimately swing the momentum back towards Daniel Ricciardo.
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With Ricciardo's strategy of using the soft tyre during the second stint proving the stronger option overall, the Australian's charge was helped significantly by team-mate Verstappen, who did not defend what was third position at the time as his super-soft rubber wilted.
With Red Bull successfully going on to secure second and third positions ahead of Rosberg, Horner was pleased that Verstappen hadn't taken the opportunity to prioritise his own race over the team.
“He has demonstrated beyond any doubt that he is a team player,” said Christian Horner. “The way the two drivers operated, they both had great starts, Max on the outside; Daniel gave him just enough room to work with, which is what I asked for in the briefing.
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“Then they ran different strategies. We fitted the super soft, the new tyre, on to Max at the first stop to try cover Rosberg. And took a different route with Daniel fitting the soft tyre. After Rosberg had picked up his penalty, the objective was very much to insure that we got both the drivers ahead, so whilst Daniel was on the faster tire and closing very quickly on Max.
“We asked that he release him quickly rather than lose time fighting each other to ensure that both of them were able to get ahead of Rosberg with his five second penalty. Max immediately did that efficiently, and today is a result of great team work between the whole team including the two race drivers.”
Though Ricciardo and Verstappen have come under close scrutiny for their simmering rivalry since the Dutchman was promoted to Red Bull Racing in May, Horner says relations between the pair are good.
“You can see that it is very healthy. There is great respect between the two of them. As far as team-mates can go, they seem to like each other and they want similar things from the car. Beyond that, they're both very, very fast. Germany went in Daniel's favour, Barcelona went in Max's favour – it's the swings and roundabouts of a season, and I think that both drivers have done an outstanding job this weekend.”
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