Red Bull's Christian Horner says pitting Sergio Perez in the closing stages of the US Grand Prix to deprive Lewis Hamilton of a championship point would have been "brutal" as it would have robbed the Mexican of a well-deserved podium.
Perez was running third behond teammate max Verstappen and Hamilton in the closing stages of the race at the Circuit of the Americas, executing a flawless race despite a bout of physical illness.
The Red Bull strategist pondered whether to leave the Mexican out or pit him for a fresh set of tyres in an attempt to steal the point for fastest lap from Hamilton.
Despite the fierce title battle between Verstappen and the Mercedes driver, with each point coming into play, Red Bull ultimately decided on a status quo.
"It would have been brutal to pit Checo and take him off the podium," admitted Horner.
"Leclerc was obviously too close behind. In the collective position of the team it was better for Checo to take the points. So that's what we did."
Perez's strong showing in Austin and impeccable drive on Sunday secured the 31-year-old his second consecutive podium finish, a result that reflects the Red Bull charger's ongoing improvement.
"The way he managed the race, you could see his confidence is growing," Horner told Sky.
"That's the second race in a row he's on the podium now. His home race is coming up. He's finding his form, which is crucial for us at this time of the year."
Perez admitted after the US Grand Prix that he was looking forward to upholding his form at his home race next week.
But if the Mexican leads the way from Verstappen on race day at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, he may find himself in the heart-wrenching position where Red Bull could ask him to sacrifice a home win for the sake of his teammate's championship chances.