Red Bull discussed Baku crash pre-race

Max Verstappen leads Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull had discussed the prospect of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo coming together on Sunday morning at the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The pair came together in the closing stages of the race, sending both into retirement, and followed an earlier stoush which saw the duo bang wheels.

Speaking after the race, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admitted that the the prospect of the two team-mates colliding had been raised that morning.

“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,” he added.

“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.”

Strategically, the team elected not to introduce team orders to calm the situation as it was looking to cover off the potential of a late safety car.

“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 explained.

During its earlier pit cycle, Ricciardo had been given priority, courtesy of being the lead Red Bull on track.

He stopped a lap earlier than Verstappen, who emerged ahead of the Australian, a change of position that was not planned or expected, according to Horner.

“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 said.

“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,” Horner continued.

“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.”

Having missed out on a potential 22 points in Baku, Red Bull currently sits third in the constructors’ championship on 55 points, half that of second-placed Mercedes on 110.

Should the Red Bull pit wall have issued team orders to protect the result, or were they right to let their drivers race? Have your say in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

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