Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2018

2018 team mates battles: Verstappen vs Ricciardo at Red Bull

2018 F1 season review

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Why did Daniel Ricciardo decide to jump ship from Red Bull, the team which brought him into Formula 1 and made him a race winner, and join Renault?

For some the answer can only be a question of what he leaving rather than what he is joining. Which is to say, that hanging around in the same team as Max Verstappen is not going to do his career or his market value much good.

Comparisons between the pair since Verstappen was parachuted into Daniil Kvyat’s seat five races into 2016 is telling.

Ricciardo beat him on virtually every metric in 2016, though Verstappen was clearly on an upward swing at the end of that year. Over a 2017 campaign where both suffered many retirements, Verstappen led on every count except the all-important points tally. This year the statistics leave little room for doubt he was the team’s top performer.

That didn’t look like being the case six races into the year, by which point Ricciardo had two wins and Verstappen seemed incapable of getting through a weekend without hitting something, usually one of his rivals. But from trailing Ricciardo 72-35 at this point, Verstappen ended the year ahead 249-170.

Undoubtedly that margin is exaggerated by the dreadful unreliability Ricciardo suffered: six race-ending mechanical failures to Verstappen’s two. If there is any aspect of Ricciardo’s game which Verstappen can still learn from, it’s how dependably Ricciardo brings the points home when his car is working.

Perhaps that’s why team principal Christian Horner rues losing what he calls the best partnership the team has ever had.

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Max Verstappen vs Daniel Ricciardo: 2018 Red Bull team mates performance comparison

Season scores

Who was ahead?

The table below shows at which races Verstappen qualified or finished in front of Ricciardo:

AUSBAHCHIAZESPAMONCANFRAAUTGBRGERHUNBELITASINRUSJAPUNIMEXBRAABU
Max VerstappenQ
R

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2018 F1 season review

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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77 comments on “2018 team mates battles: Verstappen vs Ricciardo at Red Bull”

  1. I think Verstappen has really proven the doubters wrong this year. He’s beaten Ricciardo hand over fist, and quite evidently it’s annoyed Ricciardo fans. I look forward to seeing how Gasly fares against him.

    1. @noseyguyy

      I mean .. everyone criticised Max at the start of the year (myself included). I actually started thinking that Ricciardo is the better driver even though he lacks the raw pace and that something special that Max keeps showing.

      Then Canada onwards… I’ve never seen a top tier driver beaten more convincingly. Ricciardo was outclassed in every facet of racing for nearly 15 races in a row. Max didn’t just beat Ricciardo, he owned him for the rest of the season.

      I like Ricciardo.. so I hate to say this… but he should be glad Max isn’t his teammate anymore.

    2. I do agree that Verstappen REALLY REALLY matured this year. Very few mistakes (Brazil GP was a shame). For sure a World Champion human material now.
      I am also a great fan of Ricciardo, and followed him since he was in F3. I consider him also a World Champion Material.

      That was the best team mates fight this year, despite the reliability problem Ricciardo had. I believe taking away Azerbaijan, he had 7 DNF by reliability problems, also he had so many grid penalties for components replacement.

      Hopefully both of them will get their shot in a near future with a car competitive enough to allow that.

      1. I meant, allow them to be World Champions contenders.

        I cannot wait for 2019!!!!!

        1. I think it is 6 reliability dnf’s. Spa was also caused by a crash with Kimi/Hulk.

      2. I also I believe that RIC moving to Renault is good for him, after Chris Horner stated that the future of Red Bull will be constructed around Max, it was clear who RB will support. In 2016 Monaco GP, it was already an indication of that.

        If you look at the team improvements over the last 3 years, Renault and Sauber are the teams that improved the most. I believe Renault will be in a position to fight for the championship by 2020.

        Now, if you look at the performance of the Honda engine equipped cars, not much of improvement. Their best year was still in their return with McLaren. Hopefully, I am wrong.

        1. “In 2016 Monaco GP, it was already an indication of that.”

          In that GP Ricciardo drove with the new updated engine, while Verstappen was still using the old spec.
          What, according to you, were the indications on Verstappen receiving a preferential treatment..?
          I mean Ricciardo did get the better strategy in quali at Baka (after a later sc siutation in Q3) and Austria (during the wet quali). Verstappen was not allowed to come in DRS range in Hungary (grandma) and the team made then swap places in Germany.

          It was only after the 2016 summerstop RBR gave both driver equal treatment, any alledged preferential treatment for Verstappen are purely based on conspiracies

    3. “I look forward to seeing how Gasly fares against him”

      I’m going to say badly.

      1. @bealzbob
        My guess is it will be an Alonso vs Vandoorne part 2

        1. I do not know if you get a notification for this, but I randomly stumbled upon this thread and wanted to say: good guess!

  2. BatMax vs Shoe-perman

    1. I’d like to see a cartoon of that.

    2. Guybrush Threepwood
      7th December 2018, 17:37

      It took a boat load of retirements and grid penalties (conveniently missed by many when discussing qual and race stats) for Daniel, but yes, Max did out score him.

      There isn’t much in it for raw pace but it does look like Max has half a tenth on Dan.

      1. With or without the retirements and penalties, Max would finish ahead in points. But the gap would have been smaller. Max has beaten Dan since the 2nd half of 2016 till Abu Dhabi 2018.

    3. Lol. I am looking forward to that movie.

  3. Daniel wants to win the drivers championship, and knows that when his teammate is called Max Verstappen he doens’t stand a chance when the car is competitive. Smart move to go to Renault I think.

    1. I don’t think it was a smart move, rather the only move available. He may have a weaker team mate now, but he needs a miracle to be a championship contender.

      1. I don’t know if such a line of thinking can work: if verstappen is so fast with a championship contending red bull that ricciardo wouldn’t stand a chance, and remember ricciardo is still a fast driver and one of the best at avoiding driver-related retirements, then what car would ricciardo need to be champion? Something much better than red bull, so he should’ve gone to mercedes or ferrari, and if red bull is even with those there’s no chance still!

  4. There is also the big lum of money involved in the transfert to Renault.

    1. although he has already said that RB were offering more money…….

  5. Can’t help think that despite it all, Ricciardo was shown up this year.

  6. Clear at the end of 2016, even clearer all of 2017, that there’s just a slight but significant enough difference in level. 2017 Ric fans could put their fingers in their ears and go ‘nananana I can’t hear you’ after pointing at the points tally. 2018 confirms what’s been visible for a while.

    1. Brazil 2016 is all i need. In the harshest of conditions Ricciardo was standing still compared to Verstappen on equal tyres.

      1. Wet weather flair is not everything, although I have to admit most of the all time greats were good on the wet, probably prost is the exception, and leclerc looks like prost, if he’s gonna become an all time great.

      2. @rethla Not taking anything away from Max who was simply outstanding that day and would’ve beaten him regardless, but Ricciardo had a visor issue and couldn’t see properly which is why he was significantly slower.

  7. Clearly Ricciardo was ultimately the better driver this season.
    It took Verstappen until Russia to outscore Ricciardo in Races Finished Ahead. And by then the whole RBR had done everything to make sure Verstappen would end up on top.
    Ricciardo decided to show his skills by outqualifying Verstappen since Russia (knowing that the car(d)s were stacked against him, and won with 50% more Qualified Ahead versus the RBR preferred racer.

    You don’t need to be biased when letting stats and fact speak for you.

    1. @coldfly Congratulations.. You have won the most stupid person on earth award!!

      1. @jesperfey13
        Is it a challenge cup? Time to hand it over, then.

    2. @coldfly

      Dude… let’s not get in to conspiracy theories that Red Bull did everything they could to make Max finish in front. Dan isn’t the kind of guy who would stay mum on an issue like that.

      Dan was beaten.. heck.. Dan wasn’t in the same league as Max. I haven’t seen anything more obvious.

    3. It is subtle, but it is there

    4. @coldfly

      You don’t need to be biased when letting stats and fact speak for you.

      Nice one, and considering the tone of the comment, subtle indeed. :)

      1. And there I thought that it would be clear for all to see, @johnmilk, @neutronstar.
        Maybe @jesperfey13 above will now swallow his own award.

        full disclosure: I’ve got some corn growers in my family. @hahostolze

        1. @coldfly haha I wasn’t gonna say anything;-)

        2. The best thing @coldfly is that it is still going. Maniac!

    5. It took Verstappen until Russia to outscore Ricciardo in Races Finished Ahead

      True, but by then Verstappen had already scored more points than Ricciardo. That happened at the Belgium GP (Ricciardo = retired, 118 points; Verstappen = 3rd, 120 points).

      1. Those points don’t matter, there’s too much reliability difference. Verstappen made too many mistakes early in the season to be considered better than ricciardo, he can only be considered faster, but mistakes cost points.

        1. @Esploratore
          to many mistakes you say…but that’s mostly cause the complete forcus is on Max and not so much on Ricciardo.
          Aus, Ricciardo took a gridpenalty for ignoring a red flag
          Aze, Ricciardo as Verstappen both to blame for their crash
          Spain, crash if FP + two spins in the race

          That’s 5 in 5 races
          Verstappen arguably 6 in 6 races as both Australia and Bahrain was merely car related

    6. Let’s skip the huge point difference. Max was 15 to 4 times faster in qualifying. Was always leading Ricciardo when Daniel’s car failed and has gotten far more overtakes done even though Ricciardo started at the back a couple of times so he had enough opportunity to score overtakes…

      Nope Max wiped the floor with Ricciardo (who is a great driver, just not as fast).

  8. In the end, MV simply fared out better than DR overall. DR just appeared to become more anonymous on track after the decision to leave RBR for Renault although he had his share of bad luck in the process to worsen the overall situation. Next season, even with the Honda PU I expect RBR to at least achieve third in the WCC again.

    1. Yes, they’d need a terrible, terrible PU to not achieve 3rd, they have 1,5 sec chassis margin on renault with the same engine, so we already know what to blame in case.

  9. Half the article is dedicated to the question why Ricciardo could be leaving Red Bull, and the word ‘Honda’ doesn’t even come up once?
    It would seem that Red Bull’s PR machinery is doing a job that’s just as effective as it is annoying.

    1. We’ll see. The ‘independent’ journalists who have actually done their digging into Honda are confident that they are (way) ahead of Renault. They’re working on three dyno’s day and night. No idea what that will entail, but it’s not crazy to assume that Honda will be a step up (but then, how much), regardless of the fact the Red Bull chassis will always trump the Renault by quite some distance.

      1. I shall not reiterate, for it is unnecessary.

    2. I agree, it has been difficult to gauge how good the Honda engine was during the season, although it did seem to have improved through the season. Maybe if the reliability had been present earlier then Ricciardo wouldn’t have jumped.
      My guess is the Renault engine is still ahead of the Honda one.

  10. Max was the faster driver already last year, but now he’s also the better driver.

    And he’s still younger than Lewis was when he joined F1

    Unbelievable

    1. But still not as good as Hamilton was when he started. In my view.

    2. Max was already the better driver in 2017.

  11. I think Ricciardo felt the same way Vettel did once he knew he was leaving the team. And once you’re leaving, your relationship with the team and mechanics and engineers and strategists changes significantly, so your results certainly aren’t going to improve relative to your teammate’s in the second half.

    1. @chaddy

      Naaah… He was beaten by Max regardless of the excuses fans would like to make up. The same way Vettel was thrashed by Ricciardo regardless of any excuses.

  12. Although I don’t dispute Verstappen has been the quicker over the year the qualifying stats are slightly flattering. Ricciardo’s poor reliability this year also meant he went into 6 qualifying sessions knowing he’d recieve a grid penalty. I think its a fair assumption that at these races less attention was paid to qualifying pace and more on the best race setup. In fact for these 6 races the score was 5-0 to Verstappen (The 6th being Russia where Max had his only grid penalty of the year)

    1. Great point. Or you are setting your car up differently for more race pace because there’s no value in squeezing out another place or two among the top 6 in qualifying.

    2. Funny enough, when both took gridpenalties Verstappen won as well, though got placed behind Ricciardo on the grid.
      What happend after is the red line of their time at RBR, Verstappen behind on the grid immediately overtook Ricciardo and raced from P19 to P5 while Ricciardo was still P12.

      2017 > 14-6, Ver overtook Ric 4 times
      2018 > 14-5, Ver overtook Ric 4 times

    3. Good point.

      Couple that with the fact that Dan I think this year lost interest very early after it was apparent they weren’t even close to being competitive against the Ferrari and Mercedes.

      People tend to forget that he “was” one of the best qualifiers. This year especially, I don’t think his heart was in it. Good on him for making a move.

      1. Look at mexico, I don’t think ricciardo lost motivation, a competitive chance in qualifying came, took it, drove a good race and both me and horner are confident he’d have held off vettel for 2nd place were it not for the mechanical problem, but verstappen was like 15 seconds ahead and at very clear distance from vettel who was pressuring ricciardo, that’s the situation, when verstappen doesn’t make mistakes he’s just faster.

  13. I’d say I’m a fan of both drivers but Ricciardo rarely looked like had Verstappen comprehensively beaten.

    1. Yes, if you investigate and take out mechanical problems I’m sure they’re very close to each other in points, that’s cause of all mistakes verstappen made early on, there’s no doubt about the speed.

  14. This has to be the most politically correct team-mate battle ever written by @keithcollantine

    For the most part, it seems a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other!

  15. Max clearly outperformed Dan.
    Period.

    “ Perhaps that’s why team principal Christian Horner rues losing what he calls the best partnership the team has ever had.”
    Just a little feed for the Dan & conspiracy fans. Maybe RBR wanted to continue with Dan as driver, because he hardly collecte racing points ahead of Max. 😉

    1. Or maybe that’s because, were it not for ricciardo, when verstappen threw away a chance to win monaco and china, red bull would’ve lost both races, luckily they had a good 2nd driver as well!

      1. Ricciardo indeed is a good 2nd driver for Max.

  16. I love the Absolutism of Max’s fans.

    Sure, there’s evidence to show that max was faster. But when the cars didn’t have any issues at all, the difference was what? a tenth? less than a tenth?
    I haven’t looked it up, but my memory has them being awfully close in equal scenarios.
    Yet this is enough to be solidly beaten by Max.

    I hold them in equal stature, and hopefully we get to see them cross paths on track again in the future, as they both could beat Lewis. Max through speed, Dan through racecraft.

    1. Just as an example, I remember ricciardo driving a good race in mexico in 2nd place with verstappen 1st 15 sec ahead after 60 laps, keep in mind mexico lap is short and the gap was therefore 250 thousands of a second per lap in race pace, that’s not insane, but definitely more than you’re saying, even if you’re talking about qualifying.

      Now assuming ricciardo was still fully motivated in mexico, even cause he wanted a last podium with red bull, it’s quite impressive to be a quarter of a second per lap faster than ricciardo, he’s still one of the best drivers in f1.

      1. Max hsd an extra pit stop to be safe

    2. Nope 0,2 sec on average was the advantage Max had on Ricciardo through all qualifying 3 sessions

    3. Racecraft is key to performance…
      Verstappen overtook Dan 5 times this year, while Dan was ahead on the grid, last year it was also 4 times.
      So talking about racecraft, Verstappen is far superiour…. it takes him much less time to get from A to B than it takes Ricciardo. If the B-class would have been more competitive Ricciardo would have lost many points to other drivers cause it takes him all race to get to the front, while Verstappen just needs 10-20 laps.

      Examples are Bharain, US, Brasil, Abu Dhabi, Russia

      Especially Russia was n example of Max having superiour racecraft… starting from P19, behind Ricciardo…Verstappen was on P5 in a matter of a few laps while Ricciardo was still stuck on P12.
      Brasil and Abu Dhabi also good examples though… Max is just very fast through traffic…

    4. @scottie The absolutism of Ricciardo fans in ignoring the above statistics for the second year running takes some beating.

    5. When both cars where running, Max was comfortably ahead of Dan. Look at Sochi. Max started 19th and was 5th in 8? Laps. Dan was still 13th by that time.
      Singapore, even with a struggling engine, Max was 2nd in qualify and race. Dan was 6th.

  17. @scottie

    It says a lot about Lewis if he needs 2 separate drivers to beat him in 2 different ways.

    1. It shows there are lots of options to beat Lewis ;)

  18. Ricciardo is my favorite driver… but it’s hard not to agree with everything said on this page. Hopefully Renault will be a good step for him. Enstone has pedigree, let’s see what Ricky and the Hulk can do!

  19. MAX had DNF in GBR race. 8-3 edit stats

  20. So many one-eyed fans on both sides.

    Max is faster. Dan is more reliable (though, not his car).

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