BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda believes Max Verstappen should take the majority of blame for the collision between the two Red Bull teammates at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and says he would make both drivers pay for the damage to the cars if it was his team.
Daniel Ricciardo was attempting to overtake Verstappen for fourth place on lap 39 when Verstappen closed the door on him and the pair collided. The incident took both cars out of the race on the spot and left team boss Christian Horner seething in a post-race press conference.
Asked what he would do in Horner's situation, Lauda said: "Go home and cry!
"No, it's a disaster and we had it once [at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix]. 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?"
Lauda then gave his verdict on how he would deal with a similar situation within Mercedes, hinting at the extra measures the team put in place when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided in Spain two years ago.
"I would bring them in the office together with Toto [Wolff, Mercedes boss] and tell them how much less they will get paid because of the damage they have done. Really. We thought about this once but we didn't have to do it."
But Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had a slightly different take on how to deal with warring teammates.
"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," he said. "But equally, you don't want that lion spirit to be taken away.
"I've said it before, you can't expect to have two guard dogs in the car and for them to behave like puppies. There are upsides and downsides about having two fast drivers in the car."