Andreas Seidl played down team orders situation in F1 Azerbaijan GP as Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo present their views on the matter.

After a relatively low-key F1 Azerbaijan GP qualifying where they ended up just outside the Top 10, both Norris and Ricciardo found themselves in the points during the course of the grand prix. They were on different strategies from the get go where the former started on the medium tyres and the latter on the hard compound.

Naturally, Ricciardo went deep in the grand prix but before that he had to spend some time behind Norris where he urged his team to let him pass. They held position until the Brit pitted to make way for the Australian. Those few amount of laps seemingly cost him time against their direct rivals like Alpine and AlphaTauri.

Having stretched his stint, Ricciardo gained a bit under the VSC when he pitted to come out ahead of Norris. Initially, the Australian was quick to catch Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, but he dropped off and Norris caught the back of him. Despite urging the team, they told the Brit to hold station for them to secure eighth and ninth place.

Team boss Seidl played down the situation where he noted that they were looking at the best possible outcome from the grand prix without taking unnecessary risks, especially when points are important for them to retain fourth in the standings. At the same time, both Ricciardo and Norris shared their views where they understood the situation but still were open to talks to better come into terms with what was happening.

Team orders, any friction –

Seidl: “What we heard on the radio is what you would like to hear from every race driver, being ambitious and trying to have the best possible race for himself. That’s why there’s a team in place that makes sure we have the best possible outcome for the team without risking to lose two cars on track by crashing into each other. Because for example, if Daniel would have gone by Lando at the beginning of the race, we would just have ended up in a yo yo like we have seen with some other teams already this year, both being stuck behind Alonso and having the risks that Ocon actually goes through at least one of these cars. Our idea was: “ with holding position” for both cars behind Fernando, that we make sure by that we keep Ocon in check, which we did.”

Type of circuit –

Seidl: “It always depends on the circumstances. Our drivers are free to race. And we always try to provide for both drivers the same opportunities to do well, because that’s our responsibility. But if we are on different strategies and so on, obviously, you need to make sure as a team that you maximise the outcome for the team.”

Radio frustration –

Norris: “I mean, I think it’s quite simple. There was one lap just before I boxed that Daniel could have overtaken me and he didn’t. I think he was told just to defend to Gasly pretty much until I boxed. I boxed the next lap. So there was one lap he stayed behind me. I guess the return favour for him just not overtaking me was… for me not to overtake him. I could have done, I was alongside into turn one. And it was a tough decision whether to really choose or not. But I went with what we decided as a team and stuck with that.

“So tough, I mean, he just had the luck of the VSC pitstop. And he came out on the medium at the end. I just would have thought he had a bit more pace and could attack Fernando much better. My pace on the hard was quite a bit stronger. So could have done. As a team, I think we just did a good job, we did what we wanted, which was to finish in the points.”

Your point in the end was related to fighting Alonso –

Norris: “I accepted it. I’d rather that we did that. Honestly, if I finished eighth or ninth today, it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t change too much. We just want to finish as high as possible. It’s quite simple. But as a team, I think it’s important we just took it the way we did. Whether or not it’s a different story. That’s something we’ll discuss. I think a lot of what we’ve done over the last few years has always been correct and how we have worked as a team. And that’s why I listened and stood by what we decided.”

Understood what was happening but conversations still –

Norris: I knew what happened earlier in the race. So I understood it. I just like I said, we’ll speak about it and discuss the rest. I think just understanding the difference of the situations we were in. It was one lap, Daniel just stayed behind me until I boxed. And I don’t think that one lap would have changed anything, let’s say he still would have been probably behind Fernando, and I still would have been behind, it’s just he got the VSC pitstop. So I think just racing for a normal position at the end.

“He wasn’t there, or behind me or whatever, or in a different position, because of what we did earlier in the race. We thought that would help me, but it didn’t. Therefore, at the end of the race, there was nothing to gain or lose between us. It was just a race. But I didn’t know it’s like I said, it’s nothing I’m complaining of or I’m angry about. I wanted to overtake and I wanted to race. And that’s what I said on the radio. But I listen to what the team says.”

Happy with points despite the radio chatter –

Ricciardo: “It’s certainly just to be back in the points, I think for the team, you know, to get both cars in. It’s been since Melbourne. Well, I think the sprint race in Imola, but since Melbourne, we had a double points finish like that in a feature. It was solid. The hard was the better tyre. We were quicker at the beginning. There was some team orders there. And then at the end, Lando was quicker on the hard, and there was some team orders so it kind of swung both ways.

“Ultimately, Fernando was just a bit untouchable, especially in the third sector, they just sailed away. So we got some work to do. But as a whole, there’s certainly some positives to take from the weekend. And certainly some moments of goodness and moments of understanding and see after Monaco, that’s really all I could ask. And I’m happy with that.”

Norris frustrated –

Ricciardo: “Early in the race I was in his DRS and I lifted, I didn’t pass when, when I easily could have. And then at the end Yeah, I think he was in my DRS range. He was probably the same, he probably could have passed me with a lap or two to go. So, I guess it was just a favour was returned. In any case, I honestly don’t think even if I released him, I don’t think we had anything for Fernando. As I said even I saw early in the race. Lando was exiting turn 16 on his gearbox and still couldn’t overtake. It has not changed the team result. We were going to be eighth or ninth regardless.”

Instruction not to pass him –

Ricciardo: “That was team orders. It’s obviously what happens when we’re splitting the strategy. The team could see the hard was better. But the only thing I was let’s say worried about was Gasly was coming. And I thought about not attacking Lando. It would allow Gasly to attack me. So it was kind of a little bit of a sandwich in the middle. But as I said, the team, let’s say acknowledged that and then kind of gave it back to me at the end.”

Here’s how F1 Azerbaijan GP panned out