Team Principal Christian Horner admits it would have been "brutal" if Red Bull opted to pit Sergio Perez at the end of the United States Grand Prix, in an attempt to take another point away from Lewis Hamilton.
Perez, who had no drink for the entire race, was running in third place with Charles Leclerc in his pit-stop window behind, meaning he would have finished off the podium if he had pitted for a third time.
Hamilton kept the extra point for the fastest lap of the race as he lost further ground in the Drivers' Championship to Max Verstappen. The Dutchman has a lead of 12 points with five events remaining.
"It would have been brutal to pit Checo and take him off the podium," Horner told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press.
"Leclerc was obviously too close behind. In the collective position of the team it was better for Checo to take the points, so that's what we did."
Perez was also ill for the majority of the weekend in Texas and physically struggled at the end of the race as he scored his second consecutive third place to help Red Bull close the gap to Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship to 23 points.
Horner says the team "don't know yet" why Perez's drinks bottle wasn't working
"Checo drove another very strong race," said Horner. "Unfortunately his drinks bottle wasn't working which was not great because he had been struggling with a stomach bug for most of the weekend.
"So [it was] not great to lose the fluid on a day like Sunday."
F1 Podcast: Were Mercedes caught out by Red Bull's aggressive strategy call in Austin?
It's time for the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing the tense strategy battle between Mercedes and Red Bull and much, much more from the United States Grand Prix.