Ricciardo: Max and I have found a bit more
After dominating his Red Bull teammate Daniil Kvyat in the early half of the season, Daniel Ricciardo faced new teammate from Max Verstappen from the Spamnish Grand Prix onward and as a result he believes the pair have raised each other’s game.
Ricciardo told media at Sepang that Verstappen’s promotion from Toro Rosso to Red Bull “was probably another step up in my personal career or in my driving. I always felt obviously that I was at the limit.”
“I think up until that point when Max arrived that was what probably sparked the driver change that I was performing quite well compared to Daniil, from testing through till Russia, then Max came on board.”
“I thought I was already driving at my limit, I guess there was something a little bit more and I feel that we’ve both given each other that, I feel Max has lifted his game even more and I have so it’s cool to know that we’ve got a bit more in the tank, I think we’ve both lifted without knowing we had it, we’ve found a bit more.”
“Sure, if he came into the team and kicked my ass 10 races in a row, then my career would go from up here to down here. Sure there’s always some curiosity [when a new teammate joins], I wouldn’t say nerves but I would say pressure and curiosity probably, for me as well it’s exciting.”
“I knew how hyped Max was and I hadn’t seen his data so I didn’t know what he was bringing to the table, but I knew that he was not afraid to give it a go basically, and I saw already from first practice in Barcelona that he was on the limit of the car.
“I was like OK this is going to be exciting. So another one was when I had Seb I knew if I could get the best of Seb, a four-time champ, it’s only going to do well for my career.”
“If I can go well against Max, the new kid on the block, then again if I get on top of them it’s only going to help me out. Not afraid, just excited,” admitted Ricciardo.
The big smiling Australian lies third in the championship standings, with fifty more points that Verstappen who is sixth in the standings, but the teenager has one victory to his credit while Ricciardo has yet to stand on the top step of the podium so far this year.