Daniel Ricciardo lifts lid on Max Verstappen ‘tension’ during Red Bull tenure

F1: Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo preview Mexican GP

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McLaren star Daniel Ricciardo has revealed there was tension between himself and world championship leader Max Verstappen during their time as teammates together at Red Bull. Verstappen won the Mexican Grand Prix to extend his championship lead over Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton to 19 points

Ricciardo inadvertently helped his former team when, on the opening lap of the race on Sunday, the McLaren driver clipped the back of Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes, losing his own front wing and sending the Finn into a spin before limping home in P12.

The Australian spent three years racing alongside Verstappen and there were rumours Ricciardo was forced out of the Milton Keynes-based outfit as they favoured the Dutchman.

Ricciardo conceded there were certainly moments of ‘tension’ between the pair as they competed to be the top driver at Red Bull.

“In the years with Red Bull it was Max, you know, we were teammates,” Ricciardo told Ariel Helwani on his YouTube channel when asked which driver he was least a fan of.

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“We definitely had respect for each other, but I would say today we get on better than we did back then.

“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.”

However, Ricciardo clearly enjoyed competing and working with the 24-year-old.

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When asked who he is most a fan of on the grid, the 32-year-old said: “For different reasons I guess, but Max Verstappen because you get what you see.

“He might not be the most approachable or funniest or whatever, but he is Max.

“People know that that’s what they’re going to get. He’s a very hard racer and obviously people like that.

“I definitely respect that, and I was his teammate, so I’ve known him for quite a long time as well, and I’ve also seen him, let’s say, mature and kind of grow. I think what he does is kind of relatable to some as well.”

Ricciardo surprised many when he announced he was leaving Red Bull to join Renault for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

His time with the French manufacturer did not last long, with the Australian revealing before the 2020 season that he would switch to McLaren for 2021 and beyond.

The Australian has consistently denied having any regrets about leaving Red Bull for Renault at the end of 2018, despite his spell with the French manufacturer only lasting for two years.

Ricciardo is still hoping Red Bull can win the 2021 World Championship as his former team chase their first title since completing the double with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel.

Formula 1 returns to the Interlagos in Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 14.

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