ANOTHER Grand Prix, another dramatic twist in Daniel Ricciardo’s contract saga.
The Formula 1 world remains divided over which of Red Bull’s star drivers was responsible for the lap 40 disaster at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.
Many commentators have pointed angry fingers at Max Verstappen for the collision between the two Red Bull cars.
Mercedes godfather Niki Lauda on Monday (AEDT) said Ricciardo’s smash into the back of his teammate’s RB14 was “70 per cent” Verstappen’s fault and 30 per cent the result of a careless Ricciardo fake and bake down the inside line into turn one on the Baku street circuit.
The real fault surely lies at the feet of Red Bull boss Christian Horner and the team’s top brass for its failure to control its young superstar.
The team has always declared publicly there is no No. 1 driver in the Red Bull garage, despite Verstappen’s early re-signing in October, 2017, until the end of 2020. The decision to lock up the Dutchman has left Ricciardo as the sport’s most in-demand free agent heading into 2019.
The team has also allowed both its star drivers to race wheel-to-wheel.
It is those two factors that created a perfect storm on the windy Baku streets to wipe out the team’s push for a double podium finish.
Red Bull’s clear favouritism of Verstappen resulted in the radio silence that greeted its two drivers as Ricciardo fought for more than 35 laps to squeeze past his teammate.
Verstappen got the early jump on Ricciardo on lap one, but the Aussie was back on the Dutchman’s date looking for a passing spot as early as lap five.