Max Verstappen makes a surprising statement about Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from Red Bull as the Australian ends up behind his new teammate in the return to F1, but reveals why he is not worried about the lack of pace.
- World champion throws cold water on feud claims
- Aussie secured a deal with Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri
- He finished behind his teammate in practice for the Hungarian GP
Daniel Ricciardo’s former Red Bull co-driver Max Verstappen has surprised F1 fans with a claim about the Australian that seems to go against the turbulent relationship they had when they were with the team.
Ricciardo left Red Bull for Renault in 2018, citing tension between the pair, and the team’s handling of his infamous crash in Baku that year, as some of the reasons he quit.
At one point, the Australian even said that he and the Dutchman “wanted to end each other’s careers” when they shared the same garage.
But all that seemed to have been forgotten by Verstappen when he told reporters at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix: “Actually, I never wanted him to go away.”
“It’s great to have Daniel back on the grid and in the family,” he continued.
“We know we get along very well, and if Daniel does well where he is now, then of course you have a chance to come back up.” [to Red Bull]good?
Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo will debut AlphaTauri this weekend at the Hungarian Grand Prix
Said world champion Verstappen: “It’s great to have Daniel back on the grid and within the family.
Everything is open, to be honest.
I’ve talked enough with Daniel last week. I could see that he was very excited, also after driving our car. [in a tyre test at Silverstone].’
Ricciardo has returned to the grid with AlphaTauri after serving as Red Bull’s reserve driver for the first 11 races of the season, and says he has had a smooth transition into the driver’s seat.
“Obviously there’s a lot of outside attention, but once I put the helmet on and got in the car, it felt like I’d never left, so it was nice,” Ricciardo said after first practice at the Hungaroring circuit on Friday.
The 34-year-old finished almost half a second behind his teammate Yuki Tsunoda, but didn’t appear to be bothered by his relative lack of pace.
“I think the positions probably aren’t too relevant right now,” he said.
“I think it was fairer for me today to basically feel where I am with the car.” It all felt quite familiar.
Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen (pictured together) made a formidable pairing for Red Bull Racing, but they weren’t exactly best friends.
Tsunoda surprised fans and experts alike by posting the fourth fastest time on the entire circuit.
Ricciardo was seven-tenths off the pace in 14th with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc leading Friday’s second free practice, but that famous smile returned when he said his position was “not too relevant” after getting a “good feeling” in the new car.
“Right now, I’m quite optimistic,” Ricciardo said.
‘It looked like Yuki had a good day too. So yeah, I think if we put all these things together, maybe tomorrow we can get it right… I have a good feeling in the car today.
‘There are things I have to work on that don’t worry me too much. And then some things on the car that we can keep looking to improve.’