DISOBEYING ORDERS: Torro Rosso driver Max Verstappen has been cleared of rejecting team orders during the 2015 Singapore GP. Image: AFP / Clive Mason
Singapore - Toro Rosso gave teenager Max Verstappen the all-clear after he refused orders to allow team mate Carlos Sainz to overtake at the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix.
Verstappen, who had recovered brilliantly from stalling on the 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.
Afterwards team principal Franz Tost said Verstappen was right to refuse, as Sainz wouldn't have been able to pass Sergio Perez, the man in front of the two Toro Rossos, either.
Tost told Sky Sports: "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.
"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. I wanted that shot and he never gave it to me."
Verstappen finished eighth and Sainz ninth. He stood by his decision not to let his team mate past, saying he was showing the quicker pace.
Verstappen said: "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. I was catching up to the guys in front so for me there was no reason to let him past."