Azerbaijan GP: Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo apologise to Red Bull for crash
Red Bull team-mates crash out on lap 40 after twice previously touching wheels; Ricciardo "heartbroken" for team; Horner blames both drivers and reminds them of responsibilities
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 29/04/18 10:15pm
Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have apologised to Red Bull after the team-mates crashed into each other in the Azerbaijan GP, with team boss Christian Horner blaming both drivers for the incident.
The two drivers had already touched wheels twice when Ricciardo slammed into the back of Verstappen when attempting a move into Turn One on lap 40.
Although Red Bull have ruled out imposing team orders despite the crash, furious team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports: "The drivers drive for a team and they both recognise that they've screwed up today and will be apologising to the team and all members of the team.
"We allow them to race, we allow them to go wheel to wheel. We discussed in the pre-race meetings about giving each other space and this was the culmination of two guys taking things into their own hands which shouldn't have happened."
A dejected Verstappen accepted: "It's really disappointing for the team. We lost a lot of points today, unnecessarily,"
Ricciardo added: "It's not a nice situation. We both feel pretty bad that it ended like that and for the team it's pretty crappy."
How the Red Bull crash unfolded
After failing to hold onto position after twice passing Verstappen early on, Ricciardo had finally made the move stick to climb to fourth on lap 35.
Ricciardo then pitted but a poor out lap allowed Verstappen to move ahead again through his own pit stop before the pair collided on the end of the start-finish straight.
"There were probably three incidents between the two of them during the Grand Prix," admitted Horner.
"They've touched wheels earlier, been told to calm it down a bit, but we don't want to interfere in letting them go wheel to wheel. They've been very good at that up to this point. We've always said give each other room on track and we'll let you race. They'd just about done that during the race up to that unfortunate incident."
What Ricciardo and Verstappen said about their clash
Ricciardo: "I'm pretty down. We're thankful that we are allowed to race. Max and I love to race as we show.
"We did get close a few times in the race already touching. Sometimes we were on the limit and unfortunately it's ended how it did.
"The incident itself, it's a tough one. I thought the gap was opening up on the inside and once I was there I had to commit to that. I'm heartbroken for how everyone is feeling in the team right now.
"We're not into each other right now, it's more just about saying sorry to the team and just apologise the best way we can. We don't want to be in that sort of situation."
Verstappen: "I don't think we need to speak about whose fault because at the end of the day we are racing for a team. We are representing a lot of people and when this happens it is just not good for both of us.
"The tow was very strong so as soon as [Daniel] was in front I was catching up again and we were pretty similar speed. We were always very close to each other.
"Before that it was hard racing but fair, we gave each other space. We had this little brush with the wheels but I think in racing that can happen. What happened after that is not good.
"This has happened before and you learn from it. We have to make sure it doesn't happen again. It's not only down to us, we speak to the team as well what we will do in the future. I don't think letting us not race anymore is the way forwards but we will talk about it.
"Daniel and I are OK with each other. As racing drivers you go through every inch and of course you are not happy when you collide to each other as team-mates, but we are very fair to each other so we spoke immediately after the race."
What happens now?
While Red Bull won't impose team orders on Ricciardo and Verstappen, considered to be the strongest driver pairing in F1, the pair have been strongly reprimanded by the team.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko described the incident as "unbelievable" and blamed both drivers while Horner said the pair had been firmly reminded of their responsibilities.
"I'm not apportioning blame one way or the other. They are both to blame with this and it is the team that unfortunately misses out," said Horner
"Our intention is to continue to let them race but they have got to show the team and each other respect and give space.
"They have been reminded that they are part of a team and they have a responsibility in the role they perform, they are highly paid individuals, to act with the team's interests at heart not just their own. The message was delivered very clearly.
"They are both in the doghouse, you can see that in their body language and they will be in the factory to apologise to all the staff prior to the Barcelona race."
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