Over the years, Red Bull have dragged themselves into worrisome positions, with the teammate rivalries heating up to the extreme, leaving them with no other option but to enforce team orders. The last time Red Bull witnessed such an intense rivalry was when Max Verstappen joined them alongside Daniel Ricciardo.
Of course, Ricciardo was still the favorite then. But the moment Red Bull realized the Dutchman was a treasure, the spotlight shifted onto the young newcomer. Nevertheless, Verstappen and Ricciardo were still pushing each other to the absolute depths.
It has been over two years since the duo parted ways, and Ricciardo finally opened up on his rivalry with Verstappen Jr. He revealed that both himself and Max had one goal in mind – to destroy each other’s F1 career.
What did Daniel Ricciardo say?
Despite the intensity of the rivalry in Red Bull, Ricciardo opened up that he still considers the Dutchman a friend. “I think it’s easier now for me and Max to be friends for two reasons,” he told SquareMile.
“I think one is that obviously, we’re not in direct competition. We’re not trying to basically end each other’s careers,” Ricciardo added.
The moment Verstappen stepped into Red Bull, the scenario of the Dutchman being prioritized over Ricciardo was always imminent.
However, even before the Austrian outfit could think about making such a move, Ricciardo made a shocking switch to Renault F1 team, leaving the team squandering for an equal replacement, which hasn’t been accomplished until now.
We never hated each other: Ricciardo
The Honey Badger opened up that the lack of teammate battle for Verstappen at the moment is helping the latter gain more respect for the McLaren driver.
“The second point is that I think – I mean, of course, I won races with him as a teammate and got pole position. So I think he always knew I was quick and respected me. But now, since I’ve left, the other drivers have come through and him having different teammates,” he said.
“I think it’s probably increased his respect for me even more. I mean we never hated each other. We just wanted to end each other’s careers! It’s as simple as that.”
The rivalry is definitely not over yet. Yes, McLaren are still lagging a bit in terms of pace, but what a leap in performance has it been from the British team this season!
Furthermore, with the regulation changes set to take charge from 2022, McLaren are likely to close further in on the raging bulls.
So, will Ricciardo yet again see himself racing wheel-to-wheel with his former Red Bull teammate by the next F1 season? Well, let’s hope so.