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Christian Horner

Why Red Bull did not instruct Verstappen to let Leclerc through

The Turn 1 incident was investigated by stewards who handed Max Verstappen a five-second time penalty for forcing Charles Leclerc off the track. Christian Horner has revealed why the team did not tell him to let Charles Leclerc back through.

Verstappen Leclerc  Las Vegas
To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull did not tell Max Verstappen to let Charles Leclerc back through for the lead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, as it felt the move was acceptable under lap 1 racing conditions.

At Turn 1, from second place, Verstappen dived up the inside of pole-sitter Leclerc, forcing both drivers off the track, with the Red Bull maintaining the lead.

As is sometimes the case with such incidents, a team will often instruct their driver to let the other back through for the position to avoid any sanctions from the stewards.

This is not something Red Bull elected to do, with Verstappen handed a five-second time penalty, which he served at his first pit-stop.

Team Principal Christian Horner has explained the thinking behind not telling the race-winner to swap positions back with the Ferrari.

Horner explains Red Bull thinking

"I thought it was a great race, and if you look at it from our perspective, we picked up a penalty in the first turn that was marginal," Horner told media including RacingNews365.

"We thought it was marginal under the guise of 'let them race' and both cars ran wide, but that obviously put Max on the back foot a little on the Medium tyre.

"It was 50-50, both guys ran wide at the first turn, Max was slightly ahead, and we thought that within the realms of: 'let them race in the first few corners'.

"That was why we didn't reverse [the cars], and he had to do it the hard way.

"We were not as competitive as Ferrari, we were a bit harder on the tyres, but on the Hard, the car came alive a lot, despite the damage with George.

"It was an outstanding job to close the leaders down and win the race."

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