Wolff on Red Bull crash: 'You can't expect to have guard dogs behave like puppies'
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has provided an opinion on the dramatic crash between Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this past weekend, and believes that it is hard to curtail the competitive edge of the drivers, comparing them to guard dogs against puppies.
The Red Bull duo kept close for the majority of their time on the track in Baku, and went wheel-to-wheel on a few occasions before Ricciardo attempted an overtake which ended with them coming together. Verstappen has been criticised for his actions in some races in 2018, with his aggressive style causing more than one on-track incident, but on this occasion both he and Ricciardo have been made to shoulder the blame.
Red Bull bosses Christian Horner and Helmut Marko both reprimanded their drivers for the crash.
Wolff has given a sympathetic view on the situation, however, and believes that you cannot expect drivers to be highly competitive both on and off the track and still curtail their edge during certain incidents.
He compared the driving duo as guard dogs being compelled to behave like puppies.
“I just think you have to remind them that beyond all the racing that the drivers are here for, there is a large structure in the background that is working 24/7 to provide them with the best possible cars," the Mercedes boss commented.
“But equally, you don’t want that lion spirit to be away from the track. I’ve said it before, you can’t expect to have guard dogs in the car and to behave like puppies. There are upsides and downsides about having fast drivers in the car.”
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda previously commented on the incident too, and he reckons Verstappen is to blame more than Ricciardo.
“It’s a disaster and we had it once [Spain 2016],” Lauda said.
“For me, it is 70 percent Verstappen and 30 percent Ricciardo. He was moving on him all the time, where can the poor guy go?
“I would bring them in the office together with Toto and tell them how much less they will get paid because of the damage they have done. We thought about this once but we didn’t have to do it."
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