Verstappen apologises to Ricciardo after first lap smash
Max Verstappen took responsibility for an accident which eliminated Red Bull Racing team-mate Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman locked his brakes and hit his team-mate at Turn 2, puncturing Ricciardo's rear tyre and punching a hole in his radiator, prompting the Australian to spin out of the race.
The weekend had gradually gone downhill for the Australian. Having set the pace in both free practice sessions on Friday, Ricciardo was out-qualified by Verstappen on Saturday, with the pair starting fifth and sixth.
But the accident within seconds of the start eliminated him on the spot, while the stewards handed down a 10-second penalty to Verstappen.
Ricciardo said: “The start wasn’t too bad and I got a good exit out of Turn 1, I saw Bottas on the inside of Turn 2 so knew I had plenty of room on the outside. I thought it was a good place to position myself and protect my position through the turn.
"I felt a hit but couldn’t see who it was, I knew Max was on my inside going into Turn 2 so assumed it must have been him.
"It’s really frustrating as we know our car has been better than sixth all weekend so we went out there to push for a good result and get on the podium. We will discuss the incident in de-brief this evening and me and Max will talk privately also and sort it out.
"I would have loved to race today and now I have four weeks to wait until I can get in the car again. It’s a shame to finish the first half of the season and head into the summer break in this way.”
Despite the penalty though, Verstappen showed the new RB13 upgrades were coming good as he closed in on fourth placed Valtteri Bottas in the final laps. But the Hungaroring is notoriously difficult to overtake at, and he was unable to get close enough to make a proper move on the Finn, having to settle for fifth place.
"Let me start by saying sorry to Daniel and the team," he said afterwards. "Driving into my teammate is the last thing I wanted.
"My start was actually quite good but then I got squeezed a bit wide on to the astro-turf and lost quite a bit of speed. Then Daniel and I were both fighting for position at Turn 2 so we braked quite deep into the corner. I had a car in front of me so I lost quite a bit of downforce and locked the front tyres, from there I was just a passenger.
"I was trying to avoid Daniel of course but unfortunately that was not possible. It is never my intention to hit anyone, but especially not your team-mate, and especially with the relationship I have with Daniel, it's always really good and we can always have a laugh. This is not nice and I apologise to Daniel for that and also to the team because we could have scored some good points here. I'll speak with Daniel in private and we'll sort it out. It was actually a positive Sunday in terms of pace.
"It’s not nice what happened in the beginning of the race, so I’m of course not happy with that, but at least the car is moving forward.”
F1 now goes into a four-week summer break, with Ricciardo holding on to fourth in the championship standings, just a point ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, while Verstappen is sixth.