Verstappen crushed the field as he claimed a dominant lights-to-flag victory in Barcelona on Sunday to rack up his fifth win in seven races so far in 2023. 

Did Mercedes' Upgrades in Monaco ACTUALLY Work?

After receiving a black-and-white flag for three track limits violations at Turn 5, Verstappen ignored multiple warnings from his team to claim the fastest lap bonus point in the closing stages of the race. 

One more offence would have seen the double world champion pick up a five-second time penalty, though it would have had zero impact on his race given he finished 24 seconds clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton

“We didn't want him to drive the fastest lap,” Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said. 

“You just can't prevent that. He had already had three warnings for the track limits. 

“You don't really risk anything in such a situation anymore. But you can't be angry with him.”

Explaining why Red Bull did not want Verstappen to take unnecessary risks, team principal Christian Horner told Sky: "He and his engineer have a relationship like an old married couple. 

“You could hear them talking over the radio, almost like arguing over which channel shall we watch.

"Having had three strikes, the next one was a time penalty and if there was a safety car or something like that, that could have been extremely painful. 

“The engineer is trying to manage Max and say, 'Don't take any risks, bring it home and keep it between the lines'. Max, I think he wasn't aware he was exceeding the limits and he just wanted that extra point for the fastest lap.”

Horner added: “Of course, we'll talk about it – in a situation where there was more to lose than that then we'd talk about it very firmly. 

“All we can do is pass on the information and what he chooses to do with that information, he's in control of that.”

Verstappen, who now holds a 53-point lead over Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in the championship, downplayed his failure to follow team orders. 

“Well, I kept it within the white lines, I just went a bit faster on the lap. So I didn't do anything wrong,” he argued. 

“They don't know how much pace I have in the car, right, when they tell me this is the fastest lap, don't bother, but I knew that I could do it. 

“So yeah, I just had to keep it within the white lines but this is something I think we can laugh about already. 

“I was laughing about it with Helmut after the race so I'm pretty sure that they're quite happy."