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"The difference is that he'd be only 2 points ahead of Kimi now instead of 9."
Looking at it from a few other perspectives. There are other scenarios that could've played out there.
1. Seb on softer tyres uses them all after Mark also decides to ignore the team and turns his engine back up to fight, loosing all points in this race.
2. Seb blows an engine in a future race for not conserving parts loosing all points in that future race.
3. Sebs tyre wear gets extreme to the point where he drops back to a lower position sacrificing points.
4. Both guys crash duking it out
5. Gear box failure gives Seb a penalty in a later race for not conserving parts.
Admittedly none of those scenarios happened, but this is now with the benefit of hindsight. When the team was making the call to conserve they were thinking about those what ifs quite a bit I'd imagine.