- Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have been teammates at Red Bull for three seasons, from 2016 to 2018. A talented lineup, which managed to score 9 victories, four of them in 2018 making it the most successful season for the Austrian team in the turbo-hybrid era.
2018 was, however, the beginning of the downfall of that pair, with the drivers crashing into each other at Baku and Ricciardo, feeling like he wasn't anymore a priority for his team, leaving for Renault.
On a personal level, no hard feelings seem to remain among them, as they are still often seen hanging out together.
The Australian driver has talked about his relationship with Verstappen in an interview to squaremile.com:
“I mean, we never hated each other, we just wanted to end each other’s careers! It’s as simple as that.”
He went on to say that, after the "pressure" of being in the same team has gone with his move, it's "easier" to be friends:
“I think it’s easier now for me and Max to be friends for two reasons, I think one is that obviously we are not in direct competition – we are not trying to basically end each other’s careers!"
Ricciardo also believes that the distance between them has made the Dutchman value him more as a driver than Verstappen did when they were both still at Red Bull:
“The second point is that I think – I mean, of course, I won races with him as a team-mate and got pole position, so I think he always knew I was quick and respected me – but now, since I’ve left, other drivers have come through and him having different team-mates, I think it’s probably increased his respect for me even more."
The Australian, who scored two podiums with Renault last season, discussed the topic of the underwhelming performance delivered by his substitutes, Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon, in comparison with the results he had obtained.
“I truthfully believe Red Bull knew what they had with myself and Max, they obviously knew we were top tier – and, yeah, maybe they were expecting to struggle a bit with who filled the seat after me.
“I don’t know, but I would say those outside the team maybe underestimated what Max and I did to each other, to push each other to that level," he added.
“And yes, obviously Pierre or Alex couldn’t get on top of that. Or at least not soon enough.”