Remember Daniel Ricciardo complaining about Max Verstappen? Looks like he’s changed his mind, but not because he’s happy for the guy.
If you all recall, Ricciardo was feeling pretty upset about Verstappen upstaging him in Barcelona. According to him, it was a victory he should have snagged, had it not been for that pesky three-stop strategy raining on his parade. You’d expect him to feel really upset then that the Dutchman will once again be on his heels in Monaco, but on the contrary, he’s elated. To be at peak performance level, Ricciardo is a man who needs an enemy in plain sight.
“Max is a serious F1 driver and that is actually really good for me. It is a good motivation and I said when I joined Red Bull. I came up against Sebastian [Vettel] and I wanted to come up against the best and challenge myself. And now Max is the newest challenge for me. He is a big one.
“In a way I think it is good that he is having this success. If I can get on top of that then it is only good for me and probably for both of our careers.”
Ricciardo does certainly have the skill to back this competitive drive. It’s no small feat to best the likes of Sebastian Vettel and he’s out-performed the four-time title winning German as a Red Bull Racing driver in 2014. Now, he’s got someone else to leave in the dust and it’s making him very single-minded about victory.
But he may have a lot more to worry about that how many stops are in his strategy in Monaco. As you know, we’ve spoken about the brand new Renault engine that will be debuting for Red Bull and well, there simply aren’t enough of them to go round. Debate has been swirling over who will ultimately get to sample the engine first and Ricciardo and Verstappen are both in the running. Ricciardo may be the lead runner in the championship, but Verstappen’s momentous win in Barcelona definitely places him in prime candidacy for Red Bull’s brand new toy. As we’ve seen from Barcelona, even the slightest advantage could mean the difference between life or death for these ridiculously talented drivers. We’re not going to say may the best man win because between them, we’d be hard-pressed to choose “the best man”.