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Max is the toughest teammate - Ricciardo

Ricciardo and Verstappen have been teammates since May 2016 after the teenager's surprise call-up to Red Bull

By Sarah Holt
C4F1 digital editor

On one side of the garage Red Bull have the smiliest driver in F1 and on the other side… the feistiest.  

Daniel Ricciardo says his teenage rival Max Verstappen is the toughest teammate he’s faced during his seven-year F1 career. 

C4F1 presenter Steve Jones asked the Red Bull racer, in an extended interview during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend: “Would you agree that Max Verstappen is the most challenging teammate in Formula 1?”

Ricciardo, who partnered four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in 2014, responded: “From what I’ve had yes. 

“I don’t want to take anything away from Seb - he is and was and still is a great driver - but I believe Max is the toughest teammate.  Hopefully he says the same for me!”

Ricciardo found out just how feisty Verstappen can be during this season’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The Red Bull pair were fighting for position at Turn Two on the opening lap but Verstappen ploughed into his teammate and forced Ricciardo to retire with radiator damage. 

“Someone hit me. If that’s who I think it was…” a furious Ricciardo immediately said on the pit-to-car radio. 

The Australian, who is now fourth in the drivers standings, explained in Singapore how upset he’d been by the incident.

“The marshal was pulling me off the track, I was like ‘don’t touch me’, I really wanted to wait for Max to drive past,” Ricciardo added. “In the heat of the moment I may have said some things… but I still feel that I handled myself all right. 

“We’ve moved on. Obviously I was upset but that was out of my control, so what more can I do? 

“He apologised like a man, that was important. We had a private sit down, pretty much like we are now but without the cameras, and we spoke so that was important.”

Ricciardo grappled his way to an opportunistic win in Azerbaijan on his way to seven podiums in 2017 so far and says he’s happy to bide his time until he gets his hands on a championship-winning car. 

“I’ve got to make the most of what I’ve got right now and I feel I have,” said the 28-year-old. 

“When I do get podiums, or even Monza when I got up to fourth place, for me that makes me happy. It’s not the ultimate goal of what I want but in the present moment I’m getting everything out of what I can so it’s making me happy enough.”

You can watch an uncut version of Steve’s interview with Daniel Ricciardo on C4F1’s Facebook page.