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Ecclestone: 'Take an example from Ferrari's sportsmanship'

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Bernie Ecclestone was often on the other side of Ferrari's F1 battles, especially on the political front, but the former F1 supremo believes the Scuderia sets the norm when it comes to sportsmanship.

In the closing stages of last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, there were many who expected Kimi Raikkonen to yield to team orders telling him to relinquish his runner-up spot to race winner Max Verstappen to boost team mate Sebastian Vettel's points tally in the championship.

The order never came however and the Ferrari avoided an affront to sporting equity, the likes of which it had experienced at the same race in 2002, when Scuderia boss Jean Todt infamously ordered Rubens Barrichello to let Michael Schumacher pass for the championship.

"Everyone can take an example from Ferrari's sportsmanship," Ecclestone told Sport Bild.

"It would have been easy to wave Vettel past shortly before the end, but Ferrari didn't," Ecclestone said.

"So they kept up not only sporting fairness, but also Kimi's morale," he added.

Ecclestone said that he was delighted to see Ferrari and Vettel strongly contend for the world title.

"Ferrari has finally made the step I was waiting for for so long," said the 87-year-old.

"Sebastian really deserves the title. Hopefully it doesn't hurt him that Ferrari gave up those three points."

Mercedes' Toto Wolff echoed Ecclestone view, applauding the Scuderia's clean and fair attitude.

"We wouldn't have and I'm not surprised that they didn't," said Wolff.

"I think for the sake of the sport and the fans and the drivers, at that stage in the season, the beginning of July, switching drivers is quite a brutal call."

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