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Malaysian GP: Red Bull denies team orders

2016-10-03 12:48

FAIR GAME: Red Bull defended accusations that it instructed Daniel Ricciardo (left) and Max Verstappen (right) to not race one another at the Malaysian GP. Image: AP /Joshua Paul

Sepang - Red Bull has denied its drivers were ordered against racing to the chequered flag in Malaysia for the team's first one-two since 2013.

After Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ran into trouble at Sepang, Daniel Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen had a brief battle but then appeared to hold station to the finish.

"We were free to race" 

"I thought we were going to have 'Multi 33' there at one point," said Mark Webber, the former Red Bull driver who was at the centre of a Red Bull team orders storm in Malaysia in 2013, said on the post-race podium.

But when asked if Verstappen was actually free to race Ricciardo, the young Dutchman insisted: "Yeah, for sure.

More: Malaysian GP: Ricciardo wins, Hamilton's engine blows

"The team said we were free to race, but of course in a clean way. I think that's what we did."

Less clean was Rosberg's pass on Kimi Raikkonen, as the German fought back from a first-corner spin to ultimately finish on the podium and extend his championship lead to 23 points.

Mercedes slammed the stewards for imposing a penalty, with Niki Lauda calling it "completely stupid" and Toto Wolff saying it is "total nonsense".

Wolff added: "We decided a few months ago that we want harder racing without penalties when a situation is not 100%, and now this!"

Vettel's first corner crash 

And Lauda joined those who were highly critical of Sebastian Vettel's first-corner move, which had shunted Rosberg into his spin in the first place.

Vettel said: "This was a mistake that should not happen to a four-time world champion." 

Red Bull's Verstappen even called German Vettel an "idiot", while Rosberg revealed that the Ferrari driver had apologised after the race.

More: Malaysian GP: 'Out of control' Vettel angers rivals with first-corner crash

But Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene was siding with his driver.

Arrivabene said: "I will stick with what Seb says and call it a racing incident." 

F1 legend Lauda, however, was not willing to be so forgiving.

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