F1 2018 Crashgate: Who was responsible for Red Bull’s debacle in Baku?

After Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen’s coming together in Baku, RealSport assesses the case for each driver in F1’s latest round of the blame game.

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Azerbaijan once again served up a tantalising Grand Prix last weekend, with an incident-strewn race racking up two safety car periods and seven retirements as a lucky Lewis Hamilton took his first win of the year.

The definite standout moment of this year’s crazy race was the collision between the two Red Bull drivers on lap 40, a moment that left both cars out of the race, and has spawned an intense debate over which of the team’s talented charges was at fault.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

What happened?

The Red Bull drivers had been battling it out throughout the entire race, with their wheel-to-wheel antics being hard but fair, except perhaps for the pair banging wheels earlier in the race as Verstappen refused to yield and almost put Ricciardo in the wall. Ricciardo, undeterred, eventually passed his teammate on lap 35, but the slow warm-up cycle of the tyres in Baku caught him out when he pitted first, and it was Max that emerged ahead of Daniel, marking a rare appearance of the ‘over-cut’ in a race.

Ricciardo continued to hound the Dutchman as the laps ticked by, and on lap 40 saw an opportunity to pull a DRS assisted pass into turn one at the start of lap 40, and that’s when things went horribly wrong for both.

Daniel tried to sell Max a dummy down the outside of the corner on the right, then flicked his car over to the left as the other Red Bull moved to cover the outside. Unfortunately for the pair, Verstappen, having initially moved slightly right as if to cover the dummy, moved to cover this dive. This left an already committed Ricciardo with no room, and the inevitable happened as Daniel went right under Max’s rear wing and they both ended up in the turn one run-off area and out of the race.

Having reviewed the replays carefully, allow me to play devil’s advocate for both sides for a moment.