The Azerbaijan Grand Prix saw the Red Bull boys take lead roles in a dramatic turn of events, as Daniel Ricciardo crashed into to the back of teammate Max Verstappen on lap 40. It was clear from the off that the duo’s battle for the podium was a collision waiting to happen, but does this means curtains for two of F1’s most exciting drivers’ title campaigns?
The RB14s have challenged Ferrari and Mercedes thus far, even outshining them at times under certain conditions. This simply adds insult to injury as the Red Bulls were placed at 4th and 5th heading into the final third at Baku, which would have made for a thrilling finale should the team have intervened with their drivers’ feisty contest.
It’s the second double retirement for the Red Bulls this season and it leaves them 59 and 55 points behind Ferrari and Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship after just four races. But with the upgrades around the corner, there are still enough races to turn it around, if the notorious Red Bull attitude of letting their drivers battle it out can be toned down slightly. It’s no surprise, then, that many are using free bets, like the Paddy Power £20 risk-free bet advertised on Oddschecker, to protect their gamble on the team. Their volatility makes them an uncertain pick.
After letting bygones be bygones, Verstappen is keen to get going in Spain, as he returns to the track that saw him become F1’s youngest-ever winner in 2016. The Dutchman described it as a “season-defining” race and we could see another charge of the bulls in Barcelona if Christian Horner can keep his men in check.
It’s important that Verstappen and Ricciardo let their racing do the talking. The two drivers have become every Formula One fan’s favourite duo off the track with their laddish antics, but who knows what goes on behind the scenes when the cameras aren’t rolling.
Horner will be having flashbacks of 2010 when Sebastien Vettel and Mark Webber were at the helm. The pair collided in the Turkish Grand Prix that year in a similar fashion to Verstappen and Riccardio. They never fully rekindled their relationship and three years later, we saw Vettel claim his fourth straight title, while Webber on the other hand, headed for a trophyless retirement.
We’re talking about two completely different characters here, though. One would expect the fun-loving Ricciardo and young-gun Verstappen to live and learn from this setback. Hence, if they are to miss out on the Constructors’ Championship then it will be down to the performance of the RB14 rather than their drivers’ naivety.
These are not the views of Mike Petch or F1.co.uk