Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says there was "no guarantee" with regard to Max Verstappen being able to create a five-second gap to Lewis Hamilton after his controversial pass during the final few laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
A post-race broadcast of the Red Bull team radio revealed a soundbite of Verstappen telling his team that they should have allowed him to drive off rather than giving his position back to the Mercedes driver. His team principal thinks otherwise saying a five-second gap was far from an assurance.
"There's no guarantee we could have got the five seconds if that had been the penalty," Horner said in a post-race press conference.
"We had an instruction from the race director to give the place back immediately, Max was very sporting and did that and yeah it was frustrating."
Horner also went on to state that the track limit rules need to be more concrete and leave less margin for intepretation.
"I think, with these track limits, things are always going to be contentious," Horner explained.
"We do need to have a consistent situation, you can't say it's okay use it in a race, but you can't overtake out there. They should be black or white, they shouldn't be shades of grey."
The Red Bull team boss also clarified that it was not the strategy which ultimately let Verstappen down.
"At the beginning of the race, we couldn't create a gap to cover them their (tyre) degradation was impressive," Horner elaborated.
"Max could never get more than two seconds clear of Lewis. They (Mercedes) obviously pitted early for the undercut, we then conceded track position and going into the race we'd very much fixed our strategy on a on a two stop.
"They obviously went early again (pitted) on their last stop. We stayed out 10 laps longer and so we had a better tyre for the final stint. But unfortunately, Lewis had just enough to be able to hold on."