Max Verstappen had Charles Leclerc in 'checkmate', say Red Bull
"That was just the tonic that F1 needed," says thrilled but relieved Christian Horner after Verstappen's stunning win is confirmed
By James Galloway and Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 01/07/19 5:41pm
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Max Verstappen had Charles Leclerc in "checkmate" in his Austrian GP race-winning move - and it would have been "incomprehensible" if the Dutchman had been penalised.
Verstappen secured a stunning comeback victory at Red Bull's home track on Sunday, passing Ferrari rival Leclerc with two laps to go - but the win was only finally confirmed three hours after the race in the wake of a stewards' investigation.
Horner says he was in no doubt that the 'fair but hard' overtake was legal and believes Leclerc should have changed line to try and get back ahead out of the corner.
"We were completely convinced that it was ok," Horner said after the investigation was concluded on Sunday night.
"And then of course it goes to the stewards and at that point you don't know, but I think the stewards who are up today have made absolutely the right choice. One day it will go against us but I think it was fair racing, it was hard racing. It's what Formula 1 should be.
"[Verstappen] outbraked him and if you look at it he's ahead at the apex. At that point he's won the corner, it's for the other guy to back out of it and try the undercut.
"At that point, it's slam dunk, it's checkmate, he's got the corner. And that's obviously how the stewards saw it. I think we're over regulated anyway but they've made the right decision and we're very happy about that."
Sky F1's ex-driver pundits agreed with the stewards' ultimate interpretation for the incident, despite Verstappen and Leclerc banging wheels.
Here’s my view... Back in the day, the driver on the outside would have to back out and realise when he’s been beaten. Now, they can keep going, knowing that they can use the asphalt run off and then hope that the argument about “being squeezed off” wins in the stewards room.... pic.twitter.com/ScFqmn1idV— Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok) June 30, 2019
A delighted but relieved Horner added: "It's incomprehensible to think that they would have changed the podium after a race like that. That was just the tonic that Formula 1 needed. A fantastic race."
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