Red Bull had discussed clash prospect before the race

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner has revealed that concerns about an incident between Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo had already been discussed in the morning of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Both drivers were eliminated from the race after Ricciardo crashed into the back of Verstappen following several laps of wheel-to-wheel battling.

Horner was keen to stress that he felt both drivers were equally responsible for the collision, and that they need to know where the limits are.

The team boss said the scenario had even been discussed right before the race, and insisted it will be talked about again before the Spanish Grand Prix.

"We've discussed it at length on many, many occasions," Horner said. "We even discussed it in the morning, that we wanted to avoid a repeat of Force India's scenario from last year, and that we would allow them to race, but please allow each other space.

"Unfortunately that hasn't happened. Our drivers have been racing hard, on the limit, but in our mind fairly, but then unfortunately this incident has happened.

"We will discuss it prior to Barcelona, but we want to continue to allow the drivers to race. It was a racing accident, they're both equally culpable, not one or the other more to blame."

He also dismissed Niki Lauda's suggestion that if such an incident happened at Mercedes, the drivers would pay for the damage.

"Niki's perhaps more financially orientated than others," said Horner. "I think the most important thing is that they both recognise that what has happened today is unacceptable.

"F1 is a team sport, the drivers are one element of the team, they wear the overalls and they get in the car, they represent the 800 or so people that they're driving for.

"I think both of them will have taken invaluable lessons from today."

Horner said the team didn't consider pitting Verstappen or Ricciardo to get them out of each other's way: "You try to do your best as a team and you don't want to penalise one driver over the other, so we tried to give them the optimal strategy.

"Ideally we were hoping for a safety car in the last quarter of the race there, to go with the ultrasofts which we managed to go long enough to do, but we never dreamed we would be causing the safety car."

Horner also confirmed that the team hadn't expected Verstappen to jump ahead of Ricciardo at the pitstops, an outcome that led to the crash as it left the Australia behind on tyres that had got up to temperature faster.

"We obviously tried to give the preferable stop to the lead car, so stopping Daniel first, having the track position, going onto the ultrasoft tyre, a new ultrasoft tyre which should theoretically have had better warm-up," he added.

"I think Max benefited from a green first sector with DRS on one of the backmarkers. He then matched his best middle sector, and a strong final sector. The pit stops were within one-tenth of a second of each other.

"Obviously Daniel's out-lap wasn't as quick as Max's in-lap. So they found themselves that way round.

"Daniel's tyres were at a working temperature quicker than Max's, and obviously he was looking to capitalise on that. We'd seen a lot of good racing between the two of them prior to that all afternoon."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Azerbaijan GP
Track Baku City Circuit
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo , Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing
Article type Breaking news