Horner: Red Bull could manage a Ricciardo/Verstappen F1 title fight

Red Bull can manage its drivers should Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo find themselves battling each other for the 2017 Formula 1 world title, says Christian Horner

Horner: Red Bull could manage a Ricciardo/Verstappen F1 title fight

Verstappen asked Red Bull to move Ricciardo out of his way when he caught him on fresher tyres during the Malaysian Grand Prix, but Ricciardo defended hard and retained what would turn out to be crucial track position that led to his victory.

GP ANALYSIS: How the slower Red Bull won in Malaysia

Red Bull team boss Horner said he made the call to let his drivers race each other throughout, even after the outfit inherited a one-two when leader Lewis Hamilton retired.

Given Red Bull's progress this season and the upcoming change of aerodynamic regulations, the team has been tipped for its first championship shot in four years in 2017.

When it was put to him that requests such as Verstappen's might need dealing with amid an intra-team title fight in 2017, Horner replied: "Inevitably.

"Those situations you deal with at the time but I don't see it as an issue.

"The world of tyre preservation that we currently live in is a big factor of how these guys are going racing at the moment.

"Sometimes, if you are the tail car, you would theoretically be able to push a bit harder, but the guy in front is really nursing his tyres."

Horner said Verstappen was happy with the way the team dealt with strategy when it was discussed after the race.

"He is totally cool," said Horner. "He has given it his all, and he tried to win the race.

"The defining moment between the two drivers was when they got side-by-side through Turns 5 and 6 but it was good, fair racing.

"They were both more than happy in the debrief. He was fine, absolutely fine."

Red Bull's Malaysian GP one-two extended its advantage over Ferrari to 46 points in the fight for second in the constructors' championship.

It also left Horner hopeful of a strong performance in this weekend's Japanese GP.

"We're looking forward to Suzuka and hopefully it should be a circuit that plays a little more to our strengths than Malaysia," he said.

"We have seen our car has been very competitive all weekend in sector two in Malaysia so we're quite looking forward to sectors one and potentially two in Suzuka.

"The drivers love it there. Hopefully we can have a strong weekend."

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