Max Verstappen has been backed by Toro Rosso principal Franz Tost for rejecting to obey team orders to allow team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr through during the Singapore Grand Prix.
He made a huge recovery drive following being last and a lap down early on after the anti-stall system failed to kick in at the start grid, shouted “No!” when told to let Sainz past in the final stages.
“Max, just do it,” came the stern reply over the team radio at the time. But following the race team principal Franz Tost said Verstappen was right to decline, as Sainz wouldn’t have been able to pass Sergio Perez, the man in front of the two Toro Rosso’s, either.
“Carlos had new tyres therefore we thought we could switch positions, but then Carlos was too slow, he was too far behind and Max was right,” Tost told Sky Sports.
“He saw that Carlos was not closing up and Carlos could not have caught Perez so we were right to let them go.
“Carlos was always a minimum of three to five tenths (of a second) behind, if he wants us to swap the positions he must be closer to him or it doesn’t make sense. He wouldn’t have caught Perez.”
Sainz insisted the incident “is not an issue for me” but he added: “Let the guy on the newer tyre have a shot,” he said. “I wanted that shot and he never gave it to me.”
The young hero comeback to finish in eighth place, despite losing a full lap, following his car stuck at the start grid.
“It was an amazing race, I enjoyed it a lot! After stalling at the start, I thought it was over, as I was pushed to the pit-lane and then re-joined the race one lap behind… But I just kept on pushing and to finish P8 is just fantastic!”
“My pace was great and once again I really enjoyed all the overtaking!… I think I deserved that P8.”
The Dutchman stood by his decision not to let his team-mate past, saying he was showing the quicker pace.
“The call was to let Carlos come by, but the whole race I had great pace, I was pulling away from everyone in the midfield,” Verstappen said.