Daniel Ricciardo is Not at ‘My Level’, Max Verstappen Explains Why

Published 11/01/2021, 3:39 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 21, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Max Verstappen is the undisputed No. 1 in Red Bull. But for most of his early years, he was seen as an apprentice to teammate Daniel Ricciardo.


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“Certainly, in that period, Daniel had played more seasons, while I was the newcomer,” the current championship leader admitted.

But he also claims, if they were still teammates, Daniel Ricciardo won’t be a match for him.


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“I don’t think he would be able to be at my level now,” Verstappen said as reported in Formula Passion.

Ricciardo has been the only driver in Verstappen’s career so far, who was able to ‘worry’ him as a teammate. The Australian had a better head-to-head record over the Dutch in his time at Red Bull.

But Verstappen believes he has gained more experience in the last few years. This has enabled him to express himself better on track.

Since Ricciardo left Red Bull, he has only managed 3 podiums in 3 years, while Verstappen has managed 29.

Ricciardo hasn’t found footing since leaving Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo hasn’t been able to find stability since leaving Red Bull in 2018.

The Australian who signed for Renault grew impatient with a car that never delivered on its promise.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 12, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren’s Lando Norris celebrate after finishing first and second in the race Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

With his second major career move in less than three years, Ricciardo signed for McLaren, a team that was on a rise.

Currently, in his first season, Ricciardo trails his teammate Lando Norris, who is much younger and relatively inexperienced.

The driver, it seems, is still adjusting to the MCL35, with his only notable moment coming in Monza.

Max Verstappen has been the constant in impatient Red Bull

The fact that Red Bull has no patience for its drivers is not surprising for anyone. And since Day 1, Verstappen knew Red Bull require not only talent but a certain work ethic and mentality.

NUERBURG, GERMANY – OCTOBER 11: Second placed Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing talks with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Masashi Yamamoto of Honda and Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko in parc ferme during the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nuerburgring in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


At this moment, the championship leader is in so much sync with his team that it seems like a perfect marriage, a point strengthened by the constant changes in the other half of Red Bull’s garage.

In the last three years, Red Bull have signed Pierre Gasly, then demoted him while promoting Alex Albon, who they then replaced with Sergio Perez.


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As a result, Verstappen has naturally grown and his ascending performances over the years reflect that.

In the last few seasons and this season particularly, Max Verstappen has shown his ever-growing level over the rest of the field, in statistics and mentality.


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So, if Verstappen claims a driver isn’t on the same level as him, he arguably has a reason to say so.

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Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A Graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for the better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in the future.