Christian Horner has praised Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for racing “firmly but fairly” during the Miami Grand Prix last weekend.
Perez started the race from pole position, while Verstappen was forced to line up in ninth place on the grid.
However, Verstappen eased through his competition and soon found himself in the lead of the race but yet to take his one and only pit stop of the race.
After pitting for fresh Medium tyres, he closed up to the back of Perez and attacked his team-mate for the lead, successfully completing the overtake at Turn 1.
Perez defended his position, but the tyre advantage possessed by Verstappen was enough to see the Dutchman past for what was the race-winning manoeuvre.
Dr Helmut Marko clarified after the race that there were no team orders during the fight, with Horner pleased to see that the drivers showed respect to one another.
“We discussed it this morning, I said to them you’re free to race, but just keep it clean, and respect the team and respect each other,” he said.
“I felt they did that today. They raced firmly but fairly, and they gave each other enough space and respect.”
Perez entered the race weekend just six points behind Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship and hoped to take the lead of the standings for the first time in his career after Miami.
Despite losing ground in the hunt for the title, Horner denies that the result is a blow to the Mexican’s championship hopes.
“I think it’s swings and roundabouts of sport. A week ago [in Baku], he would have been on a high [after his race win],” Horner said.
“I don’t think he’ll be too disappointed, he’s still taken away 18 points from here. I don’t think there’s anybody that would have beaten Max today.”