Not Lando Norris: Daniel Ricciardo Names His Biggest F1 Rival Amid Lingering ‘Tension’

Published 11/14/2021, 5:28 AM EST
Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 21, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Mike Blake


Daniel Ricciardo joined the McLaren Racing team at the beginning of the 2021 season. He has been hopping teams since he left Red Bull in 2018 and drove for Renault in 2019 and 2020. Many had assumed that he left Max because there was some tension with his teammate, Max Verstappen.

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And as it turns out, that was somewhat true.

Daniel stated that while there was respect between him and Max, there was some tension as well. The McLaren driver regards the Dutchman as his biggest rival in over the years, but vehemently denies claims that he did not like his young teammate at Red Bull.

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We definitely had respect for each other: Daniel Ricciardo

As reported by Express, the Aussie driver mentioned that the collisions in Baku and Hungary had created some tension between him and Max. But it never translated into something bitter or them hating each other.

“In the years with Red Bull it was Max, you know, we were teammates. We definitely had respect for each other, but I would say today we get on better than we did back then.

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing walk during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 6, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

“One year, he took me out at the start. I flipped him off. In Azerbaijan, we took each other out. There was definitely some tension. As a rivalry, he has probably been my biggest rival in the years. That doesn’t mean I don’t like him,” said the former Red Bull driver.

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The Aussie driver decodes why he and Verstappen are still friends

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Ricciardo remains the only driver to have beaten Verstappen twice in the championship. The former garnered more points when they were teammates and had more pole positions. Despite their intense battles, they are still friends in the paddock. Daniel believes that there are two reasons why he and Max are still friends.

“I think one is that obviously, we’re not in direct competition–we’re not trying to basically end each other’s careers!

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

“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, I think it’s probably increased his respect for me even more,” said Daniel.

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It was a treat for the F1 fans to see both drivers push each other during their time in F1. It would be interesting to see if Daniel could have competed with Verstappen now in the same car in 2021.

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Devang Chauhan

567 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sports Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been an ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

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