In Brief

F1 Azerbaijan GP: Red Bull drivers ‘in the doghouse’ after crash

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen told to apologise to Red Bull staff as Lewis Hamilton wins in Baku

Ricciardo and Verstappen must apologise after crash

Lewis Hamilton may have won the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku yesterday but today’s news centres around the crash involving Red Bull duo Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

The teammates went wheel-to-wheel a number of times during the race yesterday before Ricciardo crashed into the back of Verstappen. The incident on lap 40 meant both drivers failed to finish the race and lost vital points in the 2018 championship.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner blamed both drivers and ordered them to apologise to staff. Horner told the Daily Mail: “They’re equally responsible. What’s obviously annoying is that we’ve given away an awfully large amount of points, so both drivers will be apologising to all the members of staff who work so hard to put these cars together.”

However, Horner did say that he wants to see the Red Bull drivers race against each other - as long as there is “enough space”. He added: “It’s a fine line - competition is what people want to see, and we want to allow the drivers to race each other. For the last two years, they’ve done a very good job of that. We will discuss things prior to Barcelona, but we want to continue to allow the drivers to race. But they have to ensure that, if they are going wheel-to-wheel, they allow each other enough space.”

Hamilton ‘grateful’ for the win

Lewis Hamilton won his first Grand Prix of the season yesterday and returned to the top of the drivers’ standings.

After his win in Baku the Mercedes ace is now four points ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, but he admits there’s work to be done ahead of the next race in Spain on 13 May.

“I don’t feel unworthy of the win,” Hamilton told the BBC. “I drove pretty well through the race. It was just for me, if my normal level is eagle, birdie, today was par, on an average, and then a couple of bogeys.

“I am grateful for the win but performance-wise, not entirely [because of] me, but with the car, my performance didn’t feel like it was on par with what I am capable of doing. I will take that away and try to come back and attack stronger in the next race.”

Ferrari are ‘favourites’ for 2018 title

Hamilton may be ahead of Ferrari’s Vettel in the drivers’ championship, but Sky Sports F1 writer Pete Gill does not believe holders Mercedes are favourites for the title this season.

Gill wrote: “Despite their first win of the new campaign, the world champions will have departed Baku with fresh cause for concern. For the first time in F1’s hybrid era, there is little doubt that Mercedes are no longer F1’s number one. And little doubt Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel are the new 2018 favourites.” 

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