Formula 1: Max Verstappen ‘not frightened’ of Daniel Ricciardo rivalry

Media playback is not supported on this device Max Verstappen: 6 things to know about the young Formula 1 driver Tennis-mad Red Bull racer Max Verstappen says he does not fear competition from team-mate…

Formula 1: Max Verstappen 'not frightened' of Daniel Ricciardo rivalry

Media playback is not supported on this device Max Verstappen: 6 things to know about the young Formula 1 driver

Tennis-mad Red Bull racer Max Verstappen says he does not fear competition from team-mate Daniel Ricciardo after his stunning F1 debut last year.

The 20-year-old Dutchman finished fifth at last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix – becoming only the second Dutchman to take a point in F1 – to talk up his place alongside the former Australian champion.

“We are very close,” Verstappen said.

“We are not coming to the forefront together as a team. I know Daniel as an individual and he knows me as an individual.”

Verstappen was demoted to the development team after a big crash in Bahrain last year, before making the cut for the race in Spain.

It was his third race with the car, and he made the move to third in the championship standings for the first time, with Ricciardo trailing in sixth.

Now the two are competing at the same level for their debut season, with Ricciardo missing out on many of the big races after his move from Red Bull to Renault, with Verstappen now expected to go through the same problems he had last year, especially when it comes to tyre usage.

Verstappen added: “We know each other in a position we have not been in a long time. We want to work together for sure, but we don’t see ourselves next to each other. I don’t believe he is in my opinion more of a contender than me.”

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The decision to pay increased respect to Ricciardo is apparently sanctioned by the management team. “That makes my life really easy,” Verstappen said.

“I can race the best I can because he has full confidence in me. It makes life much easier. He is very good on what he can do, which is very different from any of my team-mates and competitors in the past.

“This year, he has his fuel regime very different than what we were doing. He has been reading and analysing what we did last year and he has a lot of respect for what I did.

“In the past I never thought I was close to him. He has been doing that all year and he knows what I can do and what I can’t do, so it’s more of a respect between two individuals – just trying to see each other every weekend and improve.

“I don’t know if we will be able to beat Ferrari on a day, but the two big teams are Ferrari and Mercedes.”

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