Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko says Max Verstappen was given orders by the team to stay away from Valtteri Bottas while the Mercedes driver pushed for the fastest lap at the end of the Mexican Grand Prix.
The race was one to forget for the Finn despite starting on pole ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. That's because Bottas fell to the back of the grid after being hit by Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 1.
Unable to make his way up the grid after that, Bottas was brought in by Mercedes late in the race in order to try and take the fastest lap and extra point away from Verstappen.
In the end, Bottas managed to set the fastest lap, even after Verstappen tried to slow him down by lapping him, though Marko says that wasn't the plan.
"We told Max to stay out of it," Marko told Motorsport Magazin. "One point doesn't matter.
"He would only take a point away from us."
Verstappen had to stay out of trouble
Verstappen was caught out while lapping Esteban Ocon during the 2019 Brazil GP, an incident that cost the Red Bull driver the lead.
However, Marko says he never thought a similar scenario would play out in Mexico.
He added: "No, no. We just told Max to stay out of trouble."
While Sergio Perez could have taken the fastest lap and still finished third, Marko explained why that thought was never entertained by Red Bull.
"We didn't want to risk that. There was a chance to overtake Hamilton [for second], and of course that is much more important than one point," Marko concluded.
It's time for the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discuss Max Verstappen's dominant victory and much, much more from the Mexico City Grand Prix.