Max Verstappen speaks out on Daniel Ricciardo replacing Nyck de Vries

Max Verstappen believes Daniel Ricciardo is prepared for the challenge in the AlphaTauri after taking time away from racing.

As the Formula 1 grid prepares for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen has expressed his joy in welcoming former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo back to the fold. 

Verstappen fondly referred to Ricciardo as a part of the “family” as the Australian driver gears up to compete for Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri, for the remainder of the 2023 season.

During their time together as team-mates at Red Bull, Verstappen and Ricciardo forged a strong friendship. 

However, their career paths diverged after Ricciardo made the move to Renault, leaving Red Bull behind. 

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Following two lackluster years with McLaren, the 34-year-old returned to Red Bull in a test driver capacity for the 2023 season, but now he has the chance to secure a race seat with the team once again.

Replacing Nyck de Vries, Ricciardo faces a 12-race audition to demonstrate that he is the best candidate to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull. 

Verstappen shared his excitement and revealed that he had already spoken with Ricciardo ahead of his return to the grid.

“I spoke already quite a bit with Daniel last week,” Verstappen revealed during a media interaction before the Hungarian Grand Prix. 

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“I could see he was very excited. 

“Also, after driving our car [as a test driver], it’s great to have Daniel back on the grid within the family.”

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Verstappen expressed his belief that Ricciardo is fully prepared to hit the ground running upon his return to AlphaTauri. 

Having taken some time away from racing, including a “little reset” that included a visit to Las Vegas, Verstappen is confident that Ricciardo is now ready for the challenges ahead.

“Now the opportunity is here with Daniel again,” Verstappen said. “He had his little reset, including [Las] Vegas. I think he’s ready to go again.”