Formula 1

Verstappen and Hamilton.

Red Bull owner explains why Verstappen was told not to challenge Hamilton

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen continued his excellent form with a 2nd placed finish at the Japanese GP on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Dutchman pushed Lewis Hamilton hard at the end but could not catch the Mercedes Drivers' Championship leader.

The Red Bull owner later Christian Horner revealed that Verstappen was under orders not to attempt to pass Hamilton.

"We were not really having a massive fight out on track," said Hamilton. "But it's pretty clear how quick Max is - he's done a really good job, really consistent and the last race he was just too quick, today he was quicker but I was just able to manage it somehow at the time.

"I've never seen [Verstappen's] car so big in my mirrors, just very very close with a couple of laps to go but once I got by [Fernando] just managed to keep it together and it was not an easy walk in the park today. It was very much one we had to work for but great race by Max and I'm enjoying racing with him."

Red Bull owner Horner claimed Verstappen was told to maintain a three-second gap between his and Hamilton's car.

"We were managing, pretty much from about lap 35/36, an appearing and a widening blister on the inside of the front-left tyre that was getting ever deeper and wider," Horner said.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Qualifying

"So we asked Max to maintain a three-second gap as to not get into dirty air and damage the tyre further.

"But he was still able to easily sit there, and then as we got closer to the end of the race after the VSC, he said 'can I have a go?' and we said 'as long as you're sensible in the way that you approach it, fine'. And suddenly he was on Lewis's gearbox.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan

"It was a bit unlucky he came across Fernando [Alonso] and Felipe [Massa] having their own battle, because with another clear lap he'd have certainly had a go.

"Whether it would have worked or not I don't know, but he'd have certainly had a go, had a crack at making a pass. But it always would've been difficult."

Hamilton now has a massive 59 point gap over Sebastien Vettel in the Drivers' Championship and looks certain to become world champion for the fourth time.

Nico Rosberg
Fernando Alonso
Max Verstappen
World's Fastest Gamer
Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen
Formula 1

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