Christian Horner said 'it's the team who have suffered' after Daniel Ricciardo ran into the back of Max Verstappen at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday.
The pair were inseparable throughout the race, with Australian Ricciardo vying for position behind the Dutchman. Several moves up the inside of Turn 1 were then countered by Verstappen biting back at Turn 2, but it looked as though Ricciardo made his move stick on lap 35 to take fourth place.
But after their pit-stops, Verstappen managed to get the jump of the Chinese GP winner, and as the pair raced towards Turn 1 on lap 40, disaster struck.
Ricciardo tried a late move up the inside but it was defended by Verstappen, and the Australian ran into the back of his team-mate, eliminating both on the spot.
“We allow them to race, we allow them to go wheel to wheel,” said an unhappy Horner afterwards. “We even discussed it in pre-race meetings about giving each other space. Unfortunately this was the culmination of two guys taking things into their own hands which shouldn’t have happened.
“There were three incidents between the two of them during the course of the Grand Prix. They were told to calm it down a bit. What we’ve always said is give each other room on track and we’ll let you race.
“They’d just about done that throughout the Grand Prix until that unfortunate incident. Not apportioning blame one way or another – they are both to blame with this. And it’s the team that unfortunately lost out.”
This isn't the first instance of Red Bull's clashing out on track. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber collided in Turkey in 2010, before the infamous "multi-21" incident in Malaysia in 2013, when Vettel passed Webber against team orders. And Ricciardo was eliminated when Verstappen's bold move didn't pay off in Hungary 2016, and they had rubbed wheels earlier in the race in Baku.
Speaking after the incident, Ricciardo apologised to the team.
He said: "I have watched a few replays and the only thing we can both say is sorry to the team. This is the last thing we wanted.
"We want to be able to race and I’m thankful that the team let us race. We tried to keep it clean and give each other room but we were racing hard and in the end it cost us.
"I’m not going to talk about the incident but this was the worst case scenario and everyone is pretty heartbroken. I will personally apologise to the team and once again I’m just sorry we are all in this situation when everyone has worked so hard to give us such a good car.”
Verstappen added: "Before the accident it was hard racing but fair I think and we gave each other space, we had a little brush with the wheels but I think in racing that can happen, but what happened afterwards is not good. We will learn from this and have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
"I don’t think not letting us race anymore is the way forward but of course we will talk this over as a team and learn from it. We are always very fair to each other and have spoken immediately about this. For now, I’m just sorry and want to apologise to the people we represent here and at the factory as well.”