Max Verstappen

Getty Images

Horner impressed by Verstappen’s handling of luckless run

Leave a comment

Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner is impressed by how Max Verstappen has dealt with a luckless first half of the 2017 season, tipping the Dutchman to bounce back after the summer break.

Verstappen has picked up just one podium finish through the first 11 rounds of the year, enduring a run of five retirements in seven races from Bahrain to Austria that has left him 50 points behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the drivers’ championship.

Verstappen’s retirements have been down to a mix of on-track incidents and mechanical issues, but Horner is impressed by the youngster’s approach through the first real difficult point of his career.

“He’s been unbelievably lucky until this point, because he has been driving at such a high level,” Horner said.

“To be taken out in Barcelona, through no fault of his own, to have had successive engine failures in Montreal and Baku, where he was in a position to certainly finish on the podium if not win the grand prix was immensely frustrating.

“But he has dealt with it incredibly well and I’m certain that after the summer break he is going to have a strong second half of the year.”

Red Bull has worked hard to cut the gap to pace-setters Mercedes and Ferrari through the opening half of the season, and Horner says the team will not relent in its bid to get on level terms until the end of the season.

“I think the team is working very well collectively. We’re getting performance on the car, we’ve got some venues coming up that hopefully will suit us and we’ll keep pushing all the way to the final race in Abu Dhabi,” Horner said.

“There is a big gap between us and the cars ahead but there are opportunities in the remaining races and we’re going to be going all out to try and achieve what we can, and obviously the lessons you learn apply to next year anyway.”

Ricciardo, Verstappen clear the air after Hungary first lap clash (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Red Bull Racing teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen appear to have moved on Monday morning following the Hungarian Grand Prix, following their own first lap clash.

Verstappen was trying to pass Ricciardo on the opening lap but wound up hitting him, which knocked the Australian out of a Grand Prix on the first lap for the first time in his career.

The usually ebullient Ricciardo was understandably frustrated after the contact, telling NBCSN’s Will Buxton after the race, “It was out of my hands. Not obviously what I want. There was never a pass there. It was a mistake… there was no way as Valtteri was covering the inside. I was on my line. It doesn’t change my race. Just over ambitious… that’s youth.”

Verstappen immediately took blame when he spoke to Buxton in the post-race media bullpen.

“So yeah I think I was put in that position after Turn 1, getting pushed on the Astroturf,” he said. “We both went deep into T2. I had Bottas in front, so I locked the front, and I tried to keep it to the inside, but I kept locking locking locking and unfortunately I touched Daniel at I think the weakest point on the car in the side.

“That was very unfortunate. Of course it’s not what I want, and sorry to Daniel for that, because I think we have always had a very good relationship and race really well together. That was never my intention.”

Ricciardo then posted on Twitter Monday that he and Verstappen had talked about it and “handled the situation.” You can see those messages below.

Heat gets to some drivers at sun-soaked Hungarian Grand Prix

Getty Images
Leave a comment

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Daniel Ricciardo described Max Verstappen’s driving as “amateur” after his Red Bull teammate knocked him out of the Hungarian Grand Prix, while two other drivers were involved in a post-race feud on Sunday.

With the asphalt track temperatures well over 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), the heat in Hungary seemingly got to some drivers.

German driver Nico Hulkenberg was also unhappy with Danish driver Kevin Magnussen.

With less than 10 laps to go, Hulkenberg tried to overtake him on the outside but Magnussen – who earlier this week was openly critical of three-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton’s driving during practice – shunted Hulkenberg into the grass.

“I’m all for hard racing but he was just ruthless by pushing me off track,” Hulkenberg said.

They then argued in front of the television cameras in the media area after the race, with Hulkenberg labeling him “nasty” and Magnussen aiming a profane retort back at the Renault driver.

At least those two are on different teams and don’t have to spend any time with each other.

Verstappen, who last season drew stern criticism from Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen for his somewhat reckless style, knocked Ricciardo out of the race on Turn 2 of the first lap.

Verstappen swerved into him left-to-right when going wide on the exit from a turn.

“That was amateur to say the least,” an irate Ricciardo told broadcaster Sky Sports afterward.

Verstappen, who at 19 years old is seen as the future star of the sport, seems to be more aware of his limitations these days.

While last season he was unapologetic over his daring, sometimes abrasive driving style, he seems more mature this season.

Ricciardo earned no points on Sunday. But he did earn something rare in F1: an apology from Verstappen.

“It is never my intention to hit anyone, but especially not your teammate. Especially with the relationship I have with Daniel, it’s always really good and we can always have a laugh,” he said. “I apologize to Daniel for that and also to the team because we could have scored some good points here.”

At least they will seemingly head into the summer break on better terms.

“I’ll speak with Daniel in private and we’ll sort it out,” said Verstappen, who finished the race in fifth and is sixth overall in the standings.

Ricciardo is fourth, with five podium finishes in the past seven races.

“It was pleasing to see Max put his hand up and immediately apologize,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. “We all move on.”

The next race, after a month-long break, is the Belgian GP in Spa, nestled in the Ardennes forest.

At least temperatures there will be somewhat cooler.

Ricciardo calls Verstappen ‘sore loser’ after first lap contact (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Daniel Ricciardo was left fuming after being taken out by Red Bull Formula 1 teammate Max Verstappen on the opening lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix, calling the Dutchman a “sore loser”.

Ricciardo managed to get the jump on Verstappen through the first corner at the Hungaroring on Sunday, nosing ahead as they went through to Turn 2.

Verstappen locked up, sending his car straight into the path of Ricciardo, resulting in contact. Ricciardo’s car spun around and sustained damage, forcing him to jump out and retire from the race.

“Someone hit me. Is that who I thought it was?” Ricciardo asked over the radio following the incident, his engineer replying: “Yep.”

Ricciardo snapped back with a curse before calling Verstappen a “sore loser”, having been resigned to his maiden first-lap retirement in F1.

Ricciardo duly made his way down to the Red Bull garage for an explanation, while Verstappen was hit with a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.

Ricciardo thrilled, Verstappen frustrated after yo-yo British GP

Leave a comment

Daniel Ricciardo’s run of five consecutive podium finishes came to an end in Sunday’s British Grand Prix with fifth place, and Max Verstappen’s run of five DNFs in his last seven races also came to an end with fourth place.

Their feelings after Red Bull’s first double points score since Monaco – when Ricciardo was third and Verstappen fifth – could not have been more mixed.

In Ricciardo’s case, fifth place was a minor miracle after an apparent turbo issue prevented him from getting a timed lap in qualifying. But as he had a five-spot grid penalty coming anyway for a gearbox change, Ricciardo told NBCSN he was actually happy he was already last, since he wouldn’t need to fall back any further.

Ricciardo’s race was a yo-yo from 19th on the grid. He got up to 12th in the first few laps but after a Safety Car period for contact between the Scuderia Toro Rosso teammates, Ricciardo ran off the road when trying to pass Romain Grosjean on the outside of Luffield into Woodcote. That dropped him to 18th.

But in a methodical charge forward from there, Ricciardo made it into the points before half distance with a move on Felipe Massa’s Williams from 10th. It got even better from there as he got by the pair of Sahara Force Indias on fresher tires following his quick pit stop from supersofts to softs to get to eighth, seventh once Kevin Magnussen’s Haas pitted, and then into fifth by the flag with a pass of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and then inheriting a position with Sebastian Vettel’s late race tire trouble.

Ricciardo recapped his race to NBCSN’s Will Buxton.

“That was a fun race, absolutely!” the usually happy Australian exclaimed. “The whole race was a fight. Coming through, then I made a really good restart, got two cars by Turn 4, but I went for three and that was a bit optimistic going on the outside of Grosjean. I shouldn’t have been there. It wasn’t the smartest place to put the car. Went off track, probably damaged a bit of floor. Fell to last and made it almost all back up. It was fun. Good times!

“But coming through traffic was fun. I do believe I damaged the car. I was still passing cars but not as easy as I thought or hoped. We had a fight on our hands. I caught Hulkenberg… and danke, Sebastian.”

Although this result was two spots worse than where Ricciardo has been the last five races – no worse than third – Ricciardo was still over the moon.

“I’ve been so happy with how I’ve put my Sundays together. From the back to fifth, I couldn’t ask for much more. There was no way I could do better. I’m pleased.”

Verstappen, by contrast, had a podium slip away from him in the final stages of the race. While the Dutch driver was finally able to avoid the first lap or early race disasters that have struck him so frequently this year, a podium went away from him in the final three laps with a left front puncture requiring a pit stop with just two to go.

Verstappen enjoyed a thrilling battle with Vettel earlier in the race when scrapping over third but had a slow stop from his switch from supersofts onto softs.

But as first Raikkonen, then Vettel, had left front issues, so too did Verstappen and it promoted Raikkonen back to the podium in third.

Verstappen said Red Bull didn’t have podium pace so wasn’t too disappointed with fourth.

“You have to be realistic. We weren’t fast enough for a podium on pace,” Verstappen told NBCSN. “We got lucky with Seb’s puncture, so this is OK. I finished the race as well.

“All the fast corners are to the right, so it’s quite normal it wears out the left,” he added. “We pitted early so struggled with that. There’s a bigger risk with punctures.”

The Red Bull team heads next to Hungary in two weeks after a solid points haul of 22 points between them, only the fourth time in 10 races this year Red Bull has banked more than 20 points in a race.