At a safety car restart prompted by Valtteri Bottas’ retirement, Leclerc had the run on Vettel with fresher tyres, but the German fought back on the back straight, with the aid of DRS.
Binotto has previously faced scrutiny when giving Vettel “priority” over Leclerc at the start of the season, and many other instances of team orders across the year, and gave an exasperated response to questions regarding his decision to go in the opposite direction.
“When we tried to manage the drivers this season we have been criticised [for] doing it, and when they are free to fight we may be criticised because of free to fight,” Binotto said.
“I think there is always a reason for what we are deciding to do and it was right to let them race, certainly, because we [already] secured the second place in the constructors championship.
“When you’ve got a crash, something was wrong. No doubt.
“But when you’re free to fight, you’re free to fight and that’s a driving matter: how much you can take as a risk. But certainly here the risk was not necessary.”