Battle lines at Red Bull


In an already dramatic race, it was the unquestioned highlight, the two hard-as-nails Red Bull drivers battling, side-by-side, giving no quarter, unaware that a few moments later Lewis Hamilton would retire and the stakes would be raised.

Recalling the duel, Verstappen is in no doubt because it was his teammate he was racing he didn't push too hard.

"Into Turn 6, I was like, 'well, if it was someone else next to me, I would have got the move done'," he told reporters. "I would have pushed them wide. But it's your team-mate, so you can't.

"We showed the team that we can do it in a very respectful way," he added, "and I think that shows for the future a lot of confidence. It's not easy in such high-speed corners, to really know where you are compared to your team-mate. It was good fun."

However, when Daniel Ricciardo was asked if he eased off, if only a little, because it was his teammate in the other car the Australian was under no illusion.

"If I'm honest, not really," he said. "If I'm attacking someone, I'll probably know if someone is going to put up more of a fight. Some drivers defend harder than others, but in terms of me defending, or trying to hold onto a position, then it's more on my terms. I'm more the one trying to put my car where I want and it's down to them to go around. So in terms of defence, it doesn't matter who it is.

"Obviously I was aware we're team-mates, and probably in the back of your mind you think 'OK, be sensible', in terms of if you are going to commit to a line, stay on it, and if he slides into me then it's not my fault. I can say, 'well look, I stayed on my line'.

"Drive hard, but whatever line I go for, stay on that. In the defence mode it doesn't really change if it's Max or anyone else."

The Australian admits that at no stage did he expect to get a call from his team telling him to yield.

"It didn't cross my mind that the team would say let Max pass, we were racing," he said. "I didn't really expect a call anyway, I didn't expect it. It was cool.

"I am sure when we came into Turn 5, from the outside, the camera angles make it look the closest. I am sure the team was just waiting for both of us to spear off. But it was good fun and nice to be given the chance to race like that and also show the team that we can be sensible in the heat of battle and the heat of the moment."

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Published: 06/10/2016
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