The strong pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo is a blessing and a curse. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
The strong pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo is a blessing and a curse. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

How Max is ruining Ricciardo’s title bid

DANIEL Ricciardo has suggested teammate Max Verstappen is one of the obstacles in the way of him winning an F1 world championship.

The stars form arguably the strongest pairing on the grid and because Red Bull lets them race wheel to wheel without team orders, they often end up taking points off each other on race day.

Ricciardo is fourth in the drivers' standings on 106 points while Verstappen is 13 points behind, two places back. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel (171 points) and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton (163) are comfortably leading the title charge, while for other drivers it's a case of who can be the best of the rest.

Hamilton and Vettel are rarely upstaged by teammates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, meaning they do the bulk of the scoring for their teams, but it's a different prospect at Red Bull when Ricciardo and Verstappen are always jostling for bragging rights.

Ricciardo says that probably hurts their individual chances, but also admits the energy drink team lacks the raw pace of the Silver Arrows and Scuderia - something Red Bull boss Christian Horner hopes will be amended with the switch from Renault power units to Honda in 2019.

"I guess Max and myself probably take too many points away from each other - Lewis and Seb are doing all the winning there (with Mercedes and Ferrari)," Ricciardo told motorsport.com.

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo on the podium after winning the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.
Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo on the podium after winning the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.

"I still don't think we've got the real pace every weekend to convince ourselves that we can be there (contending for the title).

"Hopefully the ones we expect to be quick on, we are. If we come fifth and sixth in Budapest (at the Hungarian Grand Prix later this month), we're probably going to be pretty p---ed off."

Ferrari is 20 points clear of Mercedes in the constructors' championship and Ricciardo believes the Silver Arrows aren't as strong as they have been in the past.

"They are not as dominant as they have been the last few years," Ricciardo said. "That was inevitably going to start to mellow out at some point.

"I still think they are the overall toughest package to beat on the grid but for sure they've shown some signs of weaknesses in some areas.

"Compared to how they've been, they look vulnerable, but still in the big scheme of things they are a strong team and difficult to beat."

Ricciardo is off contract at the end of the year but has been widely tipped to ink a new deal with Red Bull, with Mercedes and Ferrari reportedly cooling on the prospect of signing the Aussie.


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