Daniel Ricciardo believes Max Verstappen has become the complete Formula 1 driver as he looks increasingly likely to win a third consecutive world title.
Ricciardo, who was teammates with Verstappen from 2016 to 2018, resumed working with the double world champion in 2023 after becoming Red Bull’s reserve driver following his departure from McLaren.
“I think the speed he always had,” Ricciardo exclusively told Total-Motorsport.com. “So the speed was there, it was then just kind of cleaning up the edges and, naturally, that comes with experience and maturity. I think he’s now that person.
“He’s in his mid-20s and just the way he carries himself, I look at him now as a young man, not a teenager, and I think he’s very comfortable.
“With a lot more races under his belt as well, [he] knows how to manage the situation, and he’s a complete driver. Hopefully, he doesn’t keep getting better because the level he’s at is pretty good.”
Ricciardo: I’m happy in my role at the moment
In his current role, as Red Bull reserve driver Ricciardo will be on site for several races this season in an ambassadorial role, having already attended the Australian, Miami, Monaco and Canadian GP.
Ricciardo will also spend time on Red Bull’s simulator giving feedback to Verstappen and Sergio Perez, as well as conducting a tyre test for Pirelli following the British GP.
“Checo, I hadn’t worked with before, but with Max [it] feels very familiar,” said Ricciardo. “I’ve only done three races so far trackside, but I felt I could settle in a bit more and start to try to give a bit more feedback.
“I’m trying to balance that line of being respectful, but I also don’t just to sit there all weekend and not have a voice. So I felt like [from] Miami, I started finding my place better.
“I will be in the sim, then Max the day after, so we could correlate a little bit before when we chatted. So yeah, it’s good. I’m happy just doing this at the moment.”
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
The next F1 race is the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix which will be second sprint weekend of the year, held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on June 30 to July 2.