Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has thanked Michael Schumacher for his "gracious" gesture of handing sixth place to Sebastian Vettel at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Schumacher allowed Vettel to make an easy pass on him near the end of the Interlagos race, although seventh would have been sufficient for the Red Bull driver to claim the title regardless with his rival Fernando Alonso only second.
"Michael very graciously gave him P6 and that was enough to convert his third consecutive World Championship," said Horner. "Michael is renowned for being a tough racer. I think it was his gesture to Sebastian, almost like passing the baton on.
"I'm sure it was not particularly well received at his former employer [Ferrari] but I thought it was very magnanimous of Michael to move out of the way for his fellow countryman."
Horner admitted Red Bull had considered telling Vettel to hold position behind Schumacher rather than risking a battle with the seven-time champion in his final Formula 1 race.
"I thought he'd be pretty tough to fight with," said Horner. "We weren't sure whether to tell Sebastian he didn't need that [position] so long as the finishing order was there so he didn't need to get in a scrap with Michael.
"Michael obviously felt it was something he wanted to do and it was very generous that he moved over in his final grand prix."
Schumacher and Vettel are long-time friends, and the elder German said after the race that he had no qualms about relinquishing sixth to his compatriot.
"He was a lot quicker and there was no point getting engaged with him," said Schumacher. "I didn't see the point, so that's why I moved over and let him through.
"I'm proud of him. He's a good friend of mine."