F1: Red Bull keeping close leash on Ricciardo, Verstappen after Baku crash

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Things have changed at Red Bull.

The team appears to be putting a limit on the freedom it gives its drivers after seeing them crash into each other in the race at Azerbaijan.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen now know Red Bull is not going to sit and watch as they bang wheels and risk ruining their races again.

They said ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix that there won’t be team orders, but the team will intervene if it feels the drivers’ actions are hurting the team.

That’s what happened in Baku. They both crashed out and earned zero points.

“I think if it got to that point again, where there’s banging wheels and stuff, then yeah,” Ricciardo said. “We are not going to have team orders, but if we find ourselves battling too hard or losing time to the others, especially if maybe there is a faster car coming through, then I think the team will step in before we start banging wheels again.”

Verstappen said that although no specific new rules were in place, he expected the team to be more proactive.

“If it’s like Baku again, maybe at one point the team will say, `OK, maybe calm down a bit, just follow each other that last few laps,’ I don’t know,” Verstappen said. “In general, they still trust us and we also understand that we don’t want that to happen again.”

Ricciardo was faster than Verstappen in Azerbaijan but couldn’t get past his teammate. As Ricciardo tried to force his way past Verstappen at the end of the front straightaway, Verstappen closed the door and Ricciardo couldn’t avoid the collision.

Neither of the drivers took full blame for the crash.

“We all talked about it, from all different points of views,” Ricciardo said. “From what the drivers could have done better, what the team could have done better, the decision makers on the pit wall, what the engineers could have done better.”

Ricciardo, who was coming off a victory in China, said maybe he should have insisted that the team tell Verstappen to let him by.

“I was saying, `I can go faster,’ but I was not shouting, sounding like a little girl,” he said. “But maybe I should have. I guess part of me was wanting to try and make it happen without being assisted, but after some point it probably got a bit too long. That’s where maybe the team can step in in the future.”

The crash left Ricciardo fifth in the drivers’ standings, while Verstappen dropped to eighth.

The drivers visited Red Bull’s headquarters in England after the Azerbaijan race and apologized to the rest of the team.

“We sent our apologies and told them it won’t happen again.”

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Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.