No team orders for Ricciardo and Verstappen in Malaysia says Horner

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were told they were free to race in the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

No team orders for Ricciardo and Verstappen in Malaysia says Horner

Ricciardo and Verstappen were running nose-to-tail in second and third and in a close battle when leader Lewis Hamilton retired when his engine expired with 15 laps to go.

Red Bull called both drivers into the pits for a fresh set of soft tyres under the virtual safety car as there was a significant gap to Nico Rosberg, ensuring the duo could comfortably get to the end of the race.

Verstappen started catching Ricciardo, but that challenge faded as the chequered flag approached and the Australian held on to take his first win since the Belgian Grand Prix in August 2014.

Horner said there was no consideration given to calling an end to their battle after the final stop and running to a safe one-two.

He added: "I made the decision after that.

"I instructed both race engineers: you are free to race, but make sure we prioritise 43 points.

"Ask the drivers to respect that. They did.

"From our perspective, it was fine to allow them to do that.

"They were both in the same engine modes, both in the same power state, so there was no real advantage one way or the other.

"At no stage [was there] a multi 21 [in reference to the team orders incident in Malaysia between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in 2013].

"Two different drivers, different circumstances.

"What we've seen is that there is a real respect between the two of them.

"They are both good racers, hard racers. I felt comfortable letting the two guys go head-to-head."

Ricciardo and Verstappen both said they enjoyed the battle and had a lot of respect for one another.

"It was hard racing and we're both determined to win and we want to beat each other, but we did it today very fair and with a lot of respect," said Ricciardo.

"So I thank him for that and I think it goes both ways."

Verstappen added of their dramatic battle: "We had a good fight, a fair fight, and I think it shows a respect between us.

"It's always fun when you give each other enough space. We were not trying to squeeze each other or anything.

"Into Turn 7, we tried to brake as late as we could - but at one point I decided to give up because I was a bit in the tighter line so, in case you clip the kerb, you bounce to the left, we both have nothing.

"It's better to be one and two."

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