December 10, 2018, 18:15

Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo reprimanded for all-Red Bull Azerbaijan GP crash

Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo reprimanded for all-Red Bull Azerbaijan GP crash

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo crash into each other during a heated Azerbaijan GP.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have been reprimanded after F1’s governing body ruled both were at fault for the spectacular collision which wiped the Red Bull cars out of the Azerbaijan GP.

Having already twice banged wheels during an increasingly fraught race-long duel, the Red Bull drivers’ afternoons ended in a heavy collision on lap 40 when Ricciardo hit the back of Verstappen as he attempted to pass his team-mate into Turn One.

The Baku stewards summoned the drivers to discuss the incident and later issued reprimands to Ricciardo and Verstappen, although the pair escaped potentially damaging grid drops for the next race in Spain.

The stewards ruled that while Verstappen made “two moves” in front of Ricciardo and the “incident had its origins in the moves”, they decided both were “relatively minor” on the Dutchman’s part.

Ricciardo also “admitted he left his move to overtake on the left too late” and therefore the judging panel ruled his actions “also contributed to the incident”.

Stewards confirmed that both drivers expressed regret about the collision, with Verstappen and Ricciardo having already issued separate apologies to Red Bull in TV interviews.

An unimpressed Christian Horner agreed that the drivers shared equal responsibility for the crash and has confirmed the pair will be made to formally apologise to the whole team at their factory in Milton Keynes before the next race at Barcelona.

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“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,” said Horner.

“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.”

Sky F1's Anthony Davidson analyses the Ricciardo-Verstappen clash

The reprimands are the drivers’ first ones of the season. A driver is handed a 10-place grid penalty if they rack up three in a single campaign, provided two were for driving offences.

Verstappen and Ricciardo were running in fourth and fifth places respectively at the time of the accident in what had already proved an unexpectedly difficult race for Red Bull. The double retirement, the team’s second in the space of four races this season, means they lost out on a minimum of 22 points.

Red Bull now trail leaders Ferrari by 59 points in the Constructors’ Championship, while lead points scorer Ricciardo is 33 points behind Lewis Hamilton, the race victor, in the Drivers’ Championship.

Verstappen has now been involved in incidents at all four races in 2018 and scored just 18 points, leaving him eighth in the standings.

The full stewards’ verdict
‘Both drivers contributed to the collision. The driver of car 33 made two moves, both of which were relatively minor.

‘The driver of car 3 [Ricciardo] admitted he left his move to overtake on the left, too late. It was obvious to the stewards that although the incident had its origins in the moves by car 33, the driver of car 3 also contributed to the incident.

‘Both drivers expressed regret about their respective contributions to the incident, during the Stewards’ hearing.’

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.”

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