Verstappen’s Turn 4 defence was “fair”, says Horner

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The world championship protagonists were fighting for the lead of the race at Interlagos on lap 48 when Hamilton tried to go around the outside of Verstappen at Turn 4.

However, Verstappen ran wide on the inside line, eventually running off the track on the exit and pushing Hamilton even further out.

The incident was noted by F1 race director Michael Masi and the stewards, but it was decided that no formal investigation was needed.

While Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that the decision not to punish Verstappen for driving Hamilton off track was ‘laughable’, Horner sees things completely differently.

Speaking to Sky he said: “It is two guys running hard and Lewis has got a run around the outside.

“Max has gone in deep and they have both gone wide, so it would have been really unfair to penalise on that.

“If it was the other way around, I would have let my sporting director have a moan about it but I wouldn’t have expected anything from it.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

While many observers suggested that Verstappen deserved a penalty for his actions, Horner said that without any contact there was no rules breach.

“Penalty for what?”he said. “There is no advantage gained and no contact that has been made. I think it is just hard racing between the two of them.

“I think actually the stewards made the right decision on that. We have talked about this many, many times about the let them race mentality, and I think they made the right call today.”

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F1 has witnessed a number of controversial incidents this year of drivers being punished for forcing rivals wide, amid claims that there is a lack of consistency from the FIA.

Horner thinks that it is inevitable, though, when a world championship is at stake that such hard racing will take place.

“With Max, he is going to race hard and Lewis is exactly the same,” he added. “That is two guys fighting for a world championship so it is going to be tough racing. But I think it was fair and there was no contact and they recommenced it a few laps later.”



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