Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2018

Horner: Verstappen and Ricciardo ‘the best team mates we’ve had’

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s partnership of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo is the best the team has ever had, according to Christian Horner.

Following the pair’s last race as team mates on Sunday Horner, who has run Red Bull since it entered F1 in 2005, said he told their post-race debrief “that may have been the best partnership we had in racing.”

“In fact,” he added, “it’s probably the best one I’ve ever had in my career in terms of dynamics between the two of them respect the way they have pushed each other or they both benefit along the way they operate himself within the team. It’s been a very good rapport and they’ve both pushed each other to new levels.”

Verstappen joined Ricciardo at the team at the fifth race of 2016, but the latter will move to Renault for the 2019 F1 season.

Horner said Ricciardo had blossomed since moving up to Red Bull from Toro Rosso.

It’s been a pleasure to have him in the team the last five years. He’s been with Red Bull since 2007 and it’s been great to see him grow and evolve.

“Ironically when we were first faced with the dilemma of who do we replace Mark Webber with: there was Jean Eric Vergne, there was Daniel Ricardos, there was Kimi Raikkonen. And our biggest concern about Daniel wasn’t his pace it was we hadn’t seen him race wheel-to-wheel while he was in a Toro Rosso.

“But ever since he got in a Red Bull racing car he’s done nothing but overtake and arguably has become the best overtaker in the business. He’s driven some fantastic races for us.

“His personality has been a tremendous fit for the brand. His energy in that team has been hugely popular. The dynamic with him and Max, you’ve only got to at the mischief that they get up to. It’s been great.

“All we can do as that chapter closes is wish him the best of luck for the future. And a new chapter opens with another young talent named Pierre Gasly.”

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60 comments on “Horner: Verstappen and Ricciardo ‘the best team mates we’ve had’”

  1. Those are some nice words, let’s hope it puts to rest the conspiracy theories that Red Bull were intentionally ruining Daniel’s races.

    1. This team is going to miss a level headed guy from next year especially with Honda PU which are going to need a lot of good feedback from drivers to develop.

      1. Well…as it seems and as Ricciardo mentioned, Verstappen was a bit better in setting up the car, wich Ricciardo often copied to get it right. Another blund statement eliminated….

        1. Link please?

          I know you’re lying, orange FBoy.


          1. I know you’re not alone in this but can we please cease all these stupidly immature comments that add nothing to this site nor to any worthwhile F1 discourse… Please…

          2. I rememeber reading that a while ago, that ricc said something like that about vers.

            A link must be findable.

  2. I think it would be hard not to get along with Ricciardo. He has such a happy go lucky and open personality that I’m pretty sure anyone would feel comfortable to work alongside him.

    It could be very different next season at Red Bull though I fear.
    Two young and apparently aggressive personalities are going to clash at some point.
    Be prepared for fireworks Christian ;)

    1. @nullapax – I think that realization has sunk in (after Sunday’s oiling session in the desert), and that’s why he’s suddenly missing the far easier to manage Ricciardo :-)

      1. @phylyp

        If Gasly gets hard to manage, they’ll just fire him. There are plenty of equally talented drivers in F1 who will get along with Max and maintain team harmony.

        1. @todfod – good point, the writing is on the wall that RBR for the near future is going to be built around Max.

    2. @nullapax That’s the thought that crossed my mind too. Red Bull are yet to see where Verstappen versus not-100% easy going team mate leads, possibly with a real championship bid thrown into the mix.

      1. I expect very little in the way of fireworks between Max and Pierre. Partly I’m of that opinion because I don’t expect RBR/Honda to be challenging Merc and Ferrari next year, as much as that would be fantastic. I’m going to have to see it to believe that Honda actually has more horsepower than Renault already, and that they will be able to use all of it and still be reliable.

        I also believe PG will be starting on his hind foot as the newbie to RBR, although they do have data on him from STR. But Max is naturally the engrained one on the team, yet the car suited DR as much as Max. PG is in the same kind of no pressure situation that DR was in when he joined SV at RBR in 2014. Be beat by Max and it’s no real surprise, but beat Max and it’s gravy. However, I think the evidence keeps mounting that Max is special, and I certainly have not sensed nearly the same hype over Gasly as Max has had, and has backed up on the track. PG is about to be in the best F1 car he will have had, so it is going to be really exciting and interesting to watch unfold. It’s just that for me Max has already shown he is a notch above the majority on the grid, and PG has everything to prove that way.

        1. @robbie – I agree with most of your points. I think the one bit I differ is this – I get the impression that Gasly has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, something to prove (like you’ve said). In hindsight, his cheeky “Now we can fight” in Bahrain gives us a better insight into his character. And that’s why I’d expect to see him starting to butt heads with Max, even when its in the team’s best interests to secure third in the WCC.

          The most recent example was that on Sunday – he didn’t move off the racing line or even let the Red Bulls lap him while he was spewing oil. That’s great racing spirit, but not much of a team player. I’m not expecting a team player to bend over like Bottas, but at least play along when prudent.

          1. That was not racing spirit, that was sheer stupidity. The engine was done, he could see it in his mirrors already, why ruin other people races in the process? Also, because he had no engine braking, he almost took out Max on the second straight. I just thought that was really unnecessary and childish, which leads Horner is going to do a lot of babysitting next year..

        2. @robbie There’s no doubt Max is fast. His aggressive style of talent also works well in races when he keeps it under control, since it propels him quickly upfield. Ricciardo may be a brilliant overtaker but sometimes – maybe most of the time – being careful rather than impetuous can leave you trailing, as we saw countless times this season between the two. As @phylyp and @gechichan mention, though, that was quite some statement by Gasly to ‘race’ the Red Bulls at Abu Dhabi. Maybe nothing or maybe a first (and deliberate) sign that he isn’t going to roll over. My own view is that the top drivers never roll over, not even in their first season. Maybe ease in for a race or two. But after that its swim or sink (remain perpetual number 2 driver). Same goes for Leclerc. Everyone points to Massa being told to move over for Alonso as his moment of decline, but actually it began when Alonso overtook him coming into the pits in China. Massa needed to return the favour as soon as possible or cause a ruckus behind the scenes. If Gasly shows any pace to match Verstappen, the latter will react, I’m sure. We’ll then see Gasly’s response. I’m not sure, though, that Red Bull could or would simply sack Gasly if they’re evenly matched and it’s getting heated. It would look really bad to get rid of a driver for being too quick. Of course if Verstappen simply outdrives him, no problem.

  3. Jonathan Parkin
    27th November 2018, 9:17

    I do find it ironic that Christian was worried about Ricciardo’s race craft when Vettel had won only two races off the front row in five years and his race wins were all predominately won in the same fashion

    1. he probably knew there was a chance they weren’t going to be on pole for every race, given the massive change in engine regs. he was right!

  4. Not to crash every illusion but at the moment there is no talent to match Max (or Ham) in F1. They are just Max and Ham fodder because there are just not agressive enough. So dream on.

    1. I’m not so sure – Leclerc has been doing some serious attacking with that Sauber.
      Let’s see what he does with the Ferrari.

    2. Seriously?

      He’s got talent but so do quite a few others that didn’t have the benefit of a Red Bull to drive (Ocon being one of them).

      If he thinks his team mate or any of the other talent in the field will just get out of his road next year he’s dreaming.

      Not even close to Hamilton and certainly hasn’t got the temperament yet to really be a threat to him.

      1. That is not how Hamilton thinks about it. Where is Max??? Where is Max???

      2. @dbradock Not sure why you would think Max would think people are just going to get out of his road. And, not even close to Hamilton? Well, in the second half of the season Max was only outpointed by LH, except Max was in the third place WCC car. LH would have every bit the challenge and more from Max if they were on the same WCC team, than he had from NR. Max has already shown way more racecraft than NR, ragged at times sure, but give him a WCC car that similarly fits him like a glove without all the technical glitches he has had and the lack of hp vs the top two teams, and likely a far different story.

        But sure for now Max needs to keep distancing himself from his ragged start to 2018, but then he has been doing that since Monaco basically. In a top car he’d have less work to do, less need to overdrive, fewer cars challenging him or for him to challenge, and that’s just how it is when one has the WCC car, and when Max has that there’s no reason to expect the same ragged Max that we have seen.

        1. But Ricciardo outdid Max in 2016 and 2017.

          1. Yeah as he did for the first third of this season too (let’s not get back into the debate about what ‘outdid’ means). And DR had terrible reliability this year. And Max is the one creating much of the buzz in F1 right now. Amongst all the unreliability for both over the last three years, and the lack of hp from Renault, Max is the standout, up and coming superstar. Might even cause a race to re-appear in his country.

          2. let’s not get back into the debate about what ‘outdid’ means

            Doesn’t matter what it means to you. It means Ricciardo scored more points than Verstappen and thus beat him.

          3. @blazzz Yeah and Kvyat beat Ricciardo. And Sainz beat Kvyat and Max beat Sainz.

            What’s your point?

          4. @jamesbond

            What’s yours? We should resort to subjectivity as opposed to quantified metrics defined by the FIA regulations?

          5. @blazzz No really, what is your point? As I see it you either have the need to pound your own chest, or that of DR’s on his behalf. But ok, whatever floats your boat. In terms of the quantified metrics defined by the FIA, Max spent the off-season between 2015 and 2016 in STR simulators, as he then also spent the pre-season testing with STR, as well as the first 4 races with them. He then got moved to RBR while Kvyat got moved back to STR for race 5 of the season and onwards.

            In those first 4 races DR managed 36 points and Max 13 in his STR. Interestingly Max still won his first race the first time he competed in a race for RBR. But anyway, the facts are the facts, right? You just carry on with pride at DR’s achievement over Max in 2016. I’ll carry on being highly impressed that Max only had 29 fewer points than DR when they were in the same car together, when Max hadn’t had the advantage of all the off-season simulator work, nor the pre-season testing, nor all the work from the first four races that DR had at RBR. And he still, by quantified metrics, beat everyone on the grid on his first weekend with RBR.

          6. @robbie

            You ask me what my point is and you go on about “pounding my own chest”? Christ, the irony is not lost on you. You don’t need to educate me on Max’s promotion to RBR, I am well aware of what happened. What exactly you are trying to prove with those patronising statements, I can only suspect as an overzealous Max fan on these boards.

            Interestingly Max still won his first race the first time he competed in a race for RBR.

            Oh you mean that race when RIC was shafted on strategy? That Spanish GP? Yeah I remember that one.

            When Max hadn’t had the advantage of all the off-season simulator work

            Look mate. You can make excuses until pigs fly, but this is F1. These are supposed to be the best drivers in the world. They are paid big bucks so that they can just be thrown into the car and drive the wheels off it.

            TBH with you, I couldn’t care less about RIC. My favourite driver is Lewis. I just find the selective arguments by Max Verstappen fans quite tiresome.

            The records will show that over the 3 seasons Max and RIC were team mates, RIC finished ahead twice, ie, the majority of the time. How you choose to interpret that, obviously you are entitled to it. But that won’t change that the seasons’ head to head is in Ricciardo’s favour, 2-1.

          7. @blazzz As I suspected, when presented with some factual back story that Max wasn’t even on DR’s team for the first 4 races of 2016, you don’t want to hear it…no excuse lol. Would it have mattered if Max was only there for the last race? No? DR would still have beat Max in 2016 end of? Yet of course you are ready to objectively defend DR as to how Max won his first race at RBR. Hypocrite.

          8. @robbie

            The fact is- from Spain 2016 onwards RIC outscored Verstappen too. Of course you don’t want to hear that neither lol.

          9. @robbie

            2016 in 17 Races:
            Wins RIC 1 VER 1
            Podiums RIC 8 VER 7
            Poles RIC 1 VER 0
            Points RIC 220 VER 191
            Fastest laps RIC 3 VER 1
            Outqualified RIC 11 VER 6
            Outraced overall RIC 10 VER 7
            In a two-car finish RIC 8 VER 7
            Front row starts RIC 3 VER 1

            As you can see- even accounting for Max being unavailable until Spain the result is still the same.

          10. @blazzz That’s ok, you don’t have to run down the stats that are there for all to see when you are unwilling to acknowledge that Max didn’t have the luxury, in only his second season in F1, of doing all that sim work and pre-season testing and the first 4 races that DR did, and instead just being thrown in at race 5 means to you no excuses, just perform. F1 is that easy to you that relative rookies, or at least newbies on a team, even brought in mid-season, still need to just be on it day one. I find your outlook very strange, and as I say hypocritical when you can come up with excuses for DR in Spain when Max won. I would have thought you would have simply said how impressive it was for Max to achieve the maximum points on that day, end of. It is about the raw numbers in the end and nothing else with you, right? On the first weekend of Max at RBR he trounced the grid, end of. And yup, DR defeated a driver that was there for 17 of the 21 races that season. Bully for you.

          11. @robbie

            As I said you can make excuses abou sim work and this and that until pigs fly, the stats speak for themselves.

            I find your outlook very strange

            Funny you should say that. I find your outlook extremely overzealous towards Max, I would go even so far as to call it cult like. Each time I come across your comments on these boards, you are defending Max tooth and nail even when cruticism is warranted. What is the going rate for such a job title these days?

            Bully for you


            Yeah I think, on that note, this ‘debate’ has entered the realms of the gutter.

            Have a nice day.

          12. @blazzz Don’t tell me what kind of a day to have;)

          13. Blazzz you sound like someone who doesnt watch the race but only the scores in the newspaper.

            Thats what you call:

            “Scoreboard journalistics”

            Its like people who dont watch a football match and only read the scores in the newspaper.

            Some of us, and the retired F1 drivers actually watch the races.
            And thats why many F1 fans and all old drivers and legends say that verstappen will be a future world champion.

            Because we watch the races.

    3. ricciardo is more consistent and has cleaner racecraft

      1. Finishing last every single race without ever getting within spitting distance of another car would be very consistent too. And clean. It does not make someone a great F1 driver.

      2. “ricciardo is more consistent and has cleaner racecraft”

        Consistantly behind Vertappen ever since halfway 2016…just check all races, he led on merit 4 races in 2017 and 4 races in 2018. He did it much cleaner though…. except for Spain, 3 mistakes in one weekend and Baku another mistake.
        Somehow 6 miskaes and a podium in 6 races makes more impression than 4 in just two races

        1. In 2016 RIC beat VER 100 times in quali’s, races and also had 100 FLs. He did this all in just 17 races.
          In 2017 he beat VER 1000 times in quali’s, races and also had 1000 FLs. He did all this in 20 races.
          In 2018 he beat VER 1000000 times in quali’s, races and also 1000000 FLs. He did this all with having a billion DNFs, by no fault of his own. And he did this
          in just 21 races.

          Lying range tool.

          1. Lying ORANGE tool.


  5. Who was the last driver who had such a positive demeanour as Ricciardo?
    Even when he’s angry or disappointed he seems to be smiling; I mean genuine grin rather than a smirk or other ‘fake smile’.

    1. @coldfly
      I have been watching F1 since the mid 1980’s as a young kid, gone to many GP & met many a driver, and I don’t think I have seen a driver like Danny Ric ever with his attitude and being happy. I have met him many times going back to 2012, had a few drinks with him and its like talking to your mate or cousin, so easy going.

      Hamilton is different, and not in a bad way, but he does ooze and a Rockstar aura about him like Senna and Schumacher did. Its like if you aren’t a Rolling Stones fan you still get Goosebumps if you met Mick Jagger- its weird!

      1. top bloke dan.. a bloody ripsnorter!

    2. Rubinho before his Ferrari years

  6. Guybrush Threepwood
    27th November 2018, 10:33

    Fastest team mates yes, but best? Max took out Ricciardo a number of times and threw away points through his own errors.

    1. Guybrush,
      Max hit Ricciardo once, not ‘number of times’ and may have thrown points away… though didn’t Ricciardo do as well…?
      He crashed and spun just as well…on top, he took just 2 podiums against Verstappen 11 podiums.

      One could also say Ricciardo didn’t score the maximum possible points cause he was to slow??

      1. One could also say Ricciardo didn’t score the maximum possible points cause he was to slow??

        Talk about being selective. 2016 and 2017 says otherwise if you are going to tak the “maximum possible points” line.

        Also, F1 isn’t just about raw speed. There are many examples through history of the slower driver beating a faster driver. ROS beating Ham in 2016, Button beating Alonso, Prost beating Senna, Lauda beating Prost. If you think F1 is just about raw speed you are clearly mistaken. Not saying raw speed doesn’t matter but you need alot more than just that. At this point, Max has the raw speed but is lacking in alot of other areas such as playing percentages. Ricciardo showed how you can beat Max despite being slower. Hence Monaco pole and victory, China to give some examples.

        I always like how in 2017 Max fans kept referring to reliability yet, those roles have been reversed this year and Ricciardo’s rotten reliability suddenly isn’t an issue in the final reckoning.

        Still, Ricciardo leaves with a 2-1 victory over Max.

        1. Max entered F1 in 2015, Ricciardo in 2011, so you compare a far more experienced Ricciardo to a 2nd&3rd season Max who came from karting and F3. Fair. This season he has shown he has significant pace over RIC. He has grown a lot as a driver over the past couple years whereas RIC is seemingly at his peak.

          And you talk about playing percentages? I agree with Horner when he said Max is fighting for podiums.
          Not the world champion title this season so he has a different mindset. I’d be more judgmental if he’s doing a ‘Vettel’ and makes championship losing mistakes when he’s very much in the race for it.

        2. Blazzz,
          the DNF’s in 2017 changed the overall outcome in the standing, while in 2018 it didn’t.
          If we check the positions both drivers DNF-ed Verstappen would have been well in front of Ricciardo both years…..even in 2016 if we take away then incident at Spa and DNF in US would have put Verstappen in front (and we also had a team swap in Germany, lucky#1 in Malaysia and a bonus of two psitions in Mexico)

          Ricciardo consistantly DNF-ed behind Verstappen (11 out of 14 DNF’s) while Verstappen nearly always DNF-ed in front of Daniel ( 8 out of 11 DNF’s).

          On pure racecraft Ricciardo was already beaten after the summerstop in 2016…numbers hid it for the ones who didn’t want to see it, though team bosses, newspapers and websites already voted Verstappen as 2nd best driver in 2017 while Ricciarod got rated 4th best. There’s more to F1 than pints, especially when the cars are unreliable

          1. Hey liar.

            “Max hit Ricciardo once, not ‘number of times’ and may have thrown points away… though didn’t Ricciardo do as well…?” – Just this year he already hit RIC twice or so in Baku BEFORE he DNFd him. In HUN’17 VER also DNFd RIC. And this is just as teammates. Meanwhile VER has hit just about everybody on the grid, several times. Quite literally in every race. Just like he did last Sunday. And no, RIC hasn’t hit VER, you orange lying tool, and no he didn’t crash at all.

            Claims you make have been proven to be lies. I have posted many times with cold data and you have told us you found it too informative, proving you’re not interested in true performance analysis but only in believing VER is the best F1-driver ever.

            RIC has outperformed VER in each and every year, including this one.
            And RB knows this and that’s why they stopped RIC from doing test work with REN. They fear him.

            Nighty night. Rest in peace.

          2. the DNF’s in 2017 changed the overall outcome in the standing, while in 2018 it didn’t.

            So having 8 consecutive DNFs doesn’t change the overall standings? Yet 2017, where Verstappen’s reliability wasn’t anywhere near as bad as RIC this year, did?

            On that note I don’t think it’s worth even trying to “debate” reasonably with you. Especially given your excitable pro Max comments on these boards.

          3. These are the facts mate.

            Some people here are unbelievable. Its like they dont like F1, but are only super fans of some drivers. Like they are their mothers.

            If wonder what they will say when verstappen wins his first and second and third world championship.

  7. Again, they weren’t in a championship winning position. Every beast in the paddock would change its approach when big things are at stake. Bottas and Hamilton get along well, so does Kimi and Seb. But none of them were fighting against their team mate…

    Webber and Vettel also got along well at the beginning (despite Fuji 2007). So did Rosberg and Hamilton…

    1. @fer-no65 Agree completely and have repeatedly said as much, as have you. There hasn’t been the pressure on the drivers to earn a number one spot and for the other to be team ordered away, when they aren’t fighting for the WDC/WCC. In spite of the odd on-track scuffle which one should expect from competitive teammates who of course want to do better than their teammates, it wasn’t cutthroat stuff ala LH/NR for example, at RBR/MV/DR.

    2. I’m not sure Webber & Vettel got along that well in the beginning compaired to the other two pairings you mentioned.

  8. I agree this was a special combination of team-mates, maybe not always on track, but that’s expected.

    Off track they were a great combination- I really think Dan’s relaxed approached showed Max (still a young man now, with high pressure on him to excel) that you can be very competitive in F1 yet still have some fun off track- many of their RBR video’s prove this, they have a good laugh together- its cool.

    Max come in in 2015 at 17, Jos held all the cards and it was all serious- Dan showed him you can race hard and have fun too, a good ‘big brother’.

    If Renault doesn’t work out he may be back in 2021.

    1. I have a feeling Seb will go back to RBR one day..

    27th November 2018, 18:41

    I’m a staunch supporter of Max but it was a VERY SAD DAY when I learned that Dan was leaving. Lovely guy and an over-the-top fine team mate. Wish him well but deep in my heart I’m going to miss him at Red Bull

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