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Max Verstappen

The Verstappen crash that triggered Ricciardo's Red Bull exit

It's six years to the day since an iconic Red Bull collision between Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo Verstappen Baku
To news overview © XPBimages

Two Red Bulls collide at a race early in the season.

It is the long-serving Australian against the new wunderkid plucked from the junior driver carrousel - one who has the potential to go to the very top and re-write the record books on a regular basis.

After the collision, the Australian is left feeling a little put out by the way he was treated and how he felt the team galvanised around the kid from northern Europe across the garage.

Relations would never quite be the same in the team as the latest cab of the Helmut Marko rank became 'the one' leaving the more established driver as an outsider.

Now, this could be describing Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel's 2010 Turkish Grand Prix collision for which Vettel was largely deemed at fault, but Webber received criticism from Marko.

But today, April 29th marks the sixth anniversary of a collision in Azerbaijan between Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, one that would eventually led to the former's exit at the end of the 2018 season.

The first thing to note about the Ricciardo Verstappen collision in 2018, was that it took them until the start of Lap 41 to actually hit each other.

With Red Bull firmly third fastest behind Mercedes and Ferrari, the two were fighting over fourth and fifth for most of the race, wheel banging and barging for position through Turns 1 and 2, coming inches apart from ending in the barriers.

Somehow, they avoided each other, as Ricciardo eventually got ahead and pitted for the only time on Lap 38, but a slow out-lap and quick one for Verstappen on his warmer tyres allowed the Dutchman to get back ahead when he stopped.

It meant Ricciardo would have to pass Verstappen again - but only this time, the junior of the two would not be so accommodating.

Charging down the main straight, Verstappen was weaving to break the tow of the DRS-armed Ricciardo, and as the two roared over the grid, Ricciardo jinked right, as if he was trying around the outside.

But he had thrown a dummy and Verstappen fell for it, as Ricciardo dived to the left in a bid to stamp on the brakes and claim the apex for Turn 1, hanging Verstappen out to dry.

However, Verstappen realised he had been sold one a fraction too late as he instinctively moved left to defend - but in doing so, in the braking zone, cut across Ricciardo, wiping out the clean air Ricciardo needed to stop.

The end result was one destoyed front wing and one diffuser for the rubbish skip - and a fall-out that would see Ricciardo leave.

The aftermath

After both had been read the riot act by a furious Christian Horner, they were made to apologise to the team back at Milton Keynes for costing a decent result, but Ricciardo believed he had been treated harshly for what was ostensibly a Verstappen fault.

He was in a contract year with Red Bull, but given doubts about Red Bull's looming 2019 Honda engine deal and the feeling that the team was starting to gravitate Verstappen's way, the Baku incident helped tip him towards leaving.

He signed a mega-money deal with Renault for 2019, ditching a Red Bull-Renault for just a Renault, but jumped ship from there before the COVID-19 delayed season ever got going in 2020 for McLaren.

In his first year there in 2021, he won the Italian Grand Prix, but that was sadly the exception rather than the rule during a troubled two-year stint at Woking, before rejoining RB in mid-2023.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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