It was Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull who sped past his teammate Max Verstappen only to smash at the rear of his car a few laps later at the 2018 Baku Grand Prix. This was the turning point in two of the Formula One’s most important faces lately. The much talked about rivalry took a bad turn after this very day and the duo has turned friend from foe at present.
The dates go back to season 2016 to 2018 when Daniel and Max raced as teammates at Red Bull Racing. Red Bull back then was a force to reckon with for the title contention. After Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber’s dual, these were the ones the Milton Keynes outfit looked up to against Mercedes.
Despite having a good off-track relationship between Max and Daniel, there was in-team toxicity and rivalry between them. The rivalry between them went to a different level after they took each other out of the race at Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2018.
In a recent interview with Squaremile.com, Daniel Riccardo conveyed regarding his rivalry with Verstappen, “I mean, we never hated each other, we just wanted to end each other’s careers! It’s as simple as that.”
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Daniel Ricciardo ‘out of sight, out of mind’ move to Renault
As 2018 drew the curtains, Daniel left Red Bull for Renault fearing Marko and team favoured Max over him. At Renault, Ricciardo performed adequately. However, Red Bull failed to replace the 31-year-old driver with Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon and the void persisted until the Austrian team signed up Sergio Perez this season.
The Honeybadger is now at McLaren while Max is competing for Red Bull. The duo does not share a toxic relationship anymore. In that context, the McLaren driver further added:
“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.
The second point is that I think, 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.”
As the driver’s ranking stands, Max Verstappen is at P2 behind the Mercedes’ ace, Lewis Hamilton. Following that, Daniel is at P7 after the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
There might not be a direct competition between the two, but apparently there is a competition of ego between the two. It will be interesting to see who gets to have the last laugh at the end of the season.
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