Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it was the "right call" to allow lapped cars to overtake the safety car in the controversial final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen clinched a historic first Formula 1 world championship following a one-lap shootout with title rival Lewis Hamilton.
With the safety car deployed following Nicholas Latifi’s crash on Lap 54, the pack bunched and race control first suggested that lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen would not be allowed to pass.
'Mercedes had no grounds for complaint' - Horner
However, the decision was quickly reversed leaving the two drivers wheel-to-wheel from which the Dutchman, on fresh soft tyres, took full advantage. To add to the controversy, the lapped cars behind Verstappen were not permitted to pass.
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Speaking afterwards, a triumphant Horner agreed with the decision.
"We were screaming at the end to let them race. A great strategy call to make that pit stop and take softs [tyres] and then it was down to Max to make it happen," he said.
"It is unheard of to leave the cars unlapped. They wanted to get the race going again. They absolutely made the right call."
He added: "I am so proud of Max and of the team for what we have been through this year.
You just knew Max was not going to give it up. He had come so far this year and then to see him close it out, become world champion - an amazing feeling.
"The last 10 laps I was thinking what will I say to Max and the guys to pick them up and then a stroke of luck with the safety car."
Mercedes launched an appeal following the race, but this was dismissed by the stewards, confirming the Dutchman's historic maiden title.
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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
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