RESULTS: Mexican Grand Prix – Race results
Christian Horner has revealed Max Verstappen didn't defy a team directive to give up his third place to Sebastian Vettel in the Mexican Grand Prix because he was told not
to move over in a subsequent radio message not broadcast over the world feed
Verstappen was running third in the final laps of the Mexico race when he was caught by Vettel on fresher tyres, who in turn had Daniel Ricciardo fast approaching behind in fifth after a late second stop for soft rubber.
With Vettel in the slipstream as they approached the heavy-braking zone of T1 on lap 68 of 71, Verstappen locked up and took to the grass, re-joining in at T3 in a move reminiscent to that of Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race.
With Red Bull originally suggesting to Verstappen he should give the position back, the Dutchman instead retained it to the end, incensing Vettel and prompting him to launch into a series of vitriolic radio messages against his on track rival and even FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting.
POLL: Should Sebastian Vettel be punished for his foul mouthed outbursts?
Ironically, Vettel got his wish moments later when Verstappen was handed a five-second penalty and demoted to fifth place.
However, Horner has come to the defence of Verstappen, explaining he wasn't stubborn in defiance of a team order because he was given a revised order – which wasn't broadcast - from the team to hold station when the race control message came through saying he was under investigation anyway.
Vettel, however, was told twice by Ferrari that Verstappen had been asked to consider moving over by his team as per the broadcast message unaware that the directive had been reversed.
“You didn't hear the subsequent message to him, that was not broadcast, where we are checking with race control, stay where you are. We sought clarification from race control and they said they wanted to have a further look at it and establish who was ahead. So we left Verstappen in position without having a directive to let Sebastian go.”
Furthermore, Horner doesn't believe Verstappen should have been penalised anyway as Vettel was not alongside him coming into the corner and Hamilton went unpunished for an identical mistake earlier in the race.
“He'd obviously locked up, gone straight on through the grass, come out ahead of Sebastian. But if Sebastian had been alongside him, or making a passing move on him, then perhaps we would have understood more that penalty. It was no different to Lewis' issue at the beginning of the race where he actually did come out further up the road.”
Though Vettel would celebrate on the podium, the Ferrari driver was given his own 10secs penalty hours after the race in punishment for 'changing direction under braking' whilst defending from Ricciardo in the closing laps. As such, Ricciardo is classified in third from Verstappen and Vettel.
POINTS: The F1 World Championship standings after the Mexican GP
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