Horner "impressed" Hamilton gave up place to Bottas

 Jonathan Noble

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says he was "impressed" that Lewis Hamilton went through with giving up a podium place to Valtteri Bottas in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton pulled over at the final corner to hand third place to his teammate, after the Finn had earlier slowed down to give the Briton a chance to challenge the lead Ferrari cars.

While Hamilton admitted to mixed emotions about switching positions back – well aware that the lost points could prove costly at the end of the season – he knew too that living up to his word was important.

Horner, whose own driver Max Verstappen could have benefited if Hamilton had got the switch wrong as he was running right behind both Mercedes cars, has expressed some amazement at what Mercedes did.

But equally he felt that with Bottas still very much in the championship hunt, it would have been wrong for Mercedes to have effectively told him his season was over by keeping him back.

Asked if he was surprised Mercedes swapped places at the end, Horner said: "On the one hand yes, but on the other hand, it would have been harsh on Valtteri, because you are effectively telling him you are out of the championship the moment you did that.

"I was impressed Lewis gave it back, because you are just giving away more points to your biggest rival. Ultimately it will probably come down to those two guys [Hamilton and Vettel], and Ferrari's positioning with Kimi was far clearer."

Horner said that Red Bull had previously encountered its own situation of switching positions to allow one of its men to attack – on the conditions that he returns the place if he cannot move forward.

"We did it in Monaco two years ago… but it is slightly different when you haven't got a driver competing for the world championship," added Horner.

"The dilemma that Mercedes have got is that Hamilton is their lead driver and at some point you have to back a horse."

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Domain: Afterhours
Category: Motor Sports
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