BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Christian Horner has demanded both Red Bull drivers apologise to the entire workforce of his team after they collided on track at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen eliminated one another from the race on lap 39 as they battled for fourth place on the run down to Turn 1. A collision became inevitable as Ricciardo attempted a late move to the inside of the corner just as his teammate defended the position by moving across to defend the inside line.
Both cars were eliminated from the race and the drivers were later served with reprimands from the stewards. Having talked to his drivers in the immediate aftermath, team boss Horner believes Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally to blame.
"As a policy we want to let our guys race," Horner explained. "We've let them race hard against each other and unfortunately today has resulted in the worst possible scenario where you've had both drivers make contact and retire from the grand prix. It's enormously disappointing.
"There's no blame apportioned more in one direction or another. Both were equally responsible.
"What is obviously annoying is that we've given away an awfully large amount of points today, so both drivers will be apologising to all members of staff that work so hard to put these cars together. The important thing is to learn from it and do our very best to avoid a repeat in the future because we want to allow the drivers to continue to race."
The collision followed a series of wheel-to-wheel battles between the two Red Bull drivers earlier in the race, including a banging of wheels as Verstappen blocked one of Ricciardo's moves on the exit of Turn 1. But Horner said both drivers know what the rules are and that the earlier battles were within the limits of what the team allows.
"We'd discussed it at length on many occasions -- even this morning -- that we wanted to avoid a repeat of Force India's scenario from last year [when Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez took each other out of the race].
"We would allow them to race but please allow each other space. Unfortunately that hasn't happened. They had been racing hard -- on the limit -- but in our minds fairly. But then unfortunately this incident happened."