What does Max Verstappen have to say about Daniel Ricciardo's return to Red Bull?
Max Verstappen believes that Daniel Ricciardo should have stayed for longer at Red Bull (after 2018) as the Australian makes a return to the team in 2023 as a reserve driver. Despite both drivers sharing a cordial relationship by the end of the 2018 season, Verstappen stated that it would have been prudent of Ricciardo to talk to the team about the issues he was facing since it was best for his career to stay with the team.
Speaking to Formule1.nl, the Dutchman said:
“It would have been better for Daniel if he had stayed longer at Red Bull at the time.”
Max Verstappen revealed that he talked to Daniel Ricciardo about his decision, but understood that he wasn't comfortable there. The Dutchman commented that it's sometimes a trade between feeling comfortable and having success, saying:
“I did talk to him about it. It’s also about feeling comfortable somewhere. That was no longer the case at one point. Then you have to look at alternatives and make the trade-off between sporting success and feeling good somewhere.”
Daniel Ricciardo raced with Red Bull between 2014 and 2018 and after Verstappen was promoted from Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) in 2016, both were teammates. Ricciardo, who performed brilliantly with the team, started to feel 'uncomfortable' in the 2018 season after the team prioritized Verstappen. Consequently, he decided to quit the team and make a risky move to Renault. After having a decent couple of years with the French squad, the Australian made a switch to McLaren.
His time with the Woking-based team, however, turned out to be disappointing. Monza in 2021 has been his only victory since leaving Red Bull, and his poor performance at McLaren came down to his 2023 contract being terminated (on mutual grounds).
It was thought that Ricciardo might not be on the grid for the 2023 season, however, he returned to Red Bull as their third driver.
Max Verstappen talks about Daniel Ricciardo's recent performances
There is no lie in saying that Daniel Ricciardo has had a hard time out of Red Bull. With only two podiums and a single victory since he left, it is obvious that the highlight of his career was back with the Austrian team. Max Verstappen believes that although Ricciardo is loved by fans, it is important to deliver to leave your mark on the sport.
“Daniel comes across well and laughs a lot but, in the end, it’s not about the laughs it’s about the performances.”
He also stated that no matter how well a driver has performed in the past, what matters is their result in the last race (referring to Ricciardo's glory days and what he has been going through since 2020).
“Daniel has certainly delivered those in the past, but in Formula 1 the rule is that you are only as good as your last race.”
Oscar Piastri, the 2021 F2 world champion, is set to make his entry into F1 as he replaces Ricciardo at McLaren. Meanwhile, Ricciardo is all set to be alongside Max Verstappen once again albeit as the third driver this time.