Max Verstappen has had a number of teammates during his spell at Red Bull, with youngsters such a Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon both coming and going, and the Dutchman currently finds himself paired with Mexican Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez.
But it was his first teammate Daniel Ricciardo that Max’s father Jos Verstappen believes had the best impact on the now two-time world champion.
“[I] find it very difficult to say,” said Jos when asked by Formula 1 magazine about his son’s best teammate.
“I do think maybe he learnt the most from Daniel Ricciardo, a nice peer he got on very well with. Max was a young guy then and Ricciardo really good, a qualifying beast.”
The Ricciardo-Verstappen combination worked wonders for Red Bull between 2016-2018, with the young Dutchman and experienced Australian combining for a massive 1,255 point during their three years together.
While good friends off the track for most of their spell, things began to turn sour towards the end of their time together at Red Bull, with numerous incidents infuriating Ricciardo.
The duo collided in spectacular fashion in Baku in 2018, with neither driver happy to give up their race position to their teammate.
With both drivers keen to be treated as the primary driver at the team this wasn’t the only time the two came together, but after the drivers took each other out of the race, Niki Lauda claimed that Verstappen was 70% to blame for the crash.
While Verstappen was much the younger driver it became clear that having learned so much from Ricciardo, as admitted by Jos, he could now match, or even better him or the racetrack, leading to this incidents and break down in relationship.
At the end of the 2018 season, Ricciardo took the decision to leave Red Bull in search of the security of being the number one driver again.
After a season at Renault didn’t bring the success he would have wanted, Ricciardo has spent the past two seasons at McLaren, finding himself in a similar situation to his Red Bull days, being outperformed by young Lando Norris.
“The car doesn’t suit him so well,” explained Jos Verstappen when talking about why Ricciardo has struggled since leaving his son’s side at Red Bull.
“The young guard adapts more easily. You know: you shouldn’t move an old tree. You have with some older drivers – and that includes me – a certain style that has grown that way. And that is difficult to change. A young person like that adapts more easily.”
Since his time with the Australian, Verstappen has now won two world titles and may have entered a period of domination, proving that spending his early career with Ricciardo is paying dividends.