Daniel Ricciardo says he did not leave Red Bull because he didn’t want to continue being Max Verstappen’s team mate.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has been reported as saying Ricciardo’s decision to leave the team was motivated by a desire to avoid going up against Verstappen. However speaking in an interview with EFTM, Ricciardo denied this was the case.
“I’m sure he’s probably not the only one to have that opinion. I can see how people might want to think that or say that. Everyone has an opinion, and that hasn’t been pulled out of nowhere. It is what it is. I obviously say ‘no, not true’. I love a good fight.”
Ricciardo said his decision to join Renault “was more about me than Max.”
“I was at Red Bull for five years, they’ve won four world titles and I joined straight after that. So in five years looking from that first year I’m like ‘OK, in five years I’m going to win a world title, it’s going to happen’.
[smr0901]”It didn’t. We never really got close. And I’m not bitter about it, it’s what happened. And then it was now ‘OK we’re going to try and rebuild a new chapter with Honda’. I saw there was more risks for me staying and that project failing again, so to speak.
“The ability for me to become more frustrated in this environment, I just saw it as too high. And I don’t want to be that unhappy, bitter person that’s just always ‘what could’ve been’ or ‘if only I’d joined Red Bull in 2013’. That sort of thing.
“So it wasn’t about Max, I understand how somebody might think that but they’re wrong.”
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