Ricciardo on Hamilton-Verstappen title duel: It’s great for Formula 1

Despite the controversial conclusion, the McLaren driver believes the Verstappen-Hamilton rivalry can only be good for F1

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McLaren Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo comments on the duel between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, saying that while it was good for the sport, he hopes to eventually join the battle at the top of the order.

The iconic title fight between Verstappen and Hamilton will be remembered as the highlight of the 2021 season. Despite the contentious conclusion, the pair’s duel brought a much-needed dynamic to Formula 1, with Hamilton finally getting a worthy adversary after four years of dominance, a fact that Ricciardo is quick to point out.

“This duel is just great for Formula 1. I can’t cite a year in which two drivers have been locked in a head-to-head duel so often,” Ricciardo to Auto und Sport.

“It feels like the two have met at some point in 75 percent of the races. I wish I was in the middle of it. It’s been a long time since Lewis has been challenged like this. Max is no longer a youngster, but he belongs to the younger generation. 

“Lewis, on the other hand, is one of the oldest drivers. It’s great to see two riders from different ends of the spectrum battling it out.”

Future with McLaren

Despite a difficult first year with the team, the affable Australian reiterated his desire to compete for the championship with McLaren.

“I think that’s part of the challenge in Formula 1 and as a driver you not only strive to be fast, but also to be in the best car but I’m not on the hunt here,” Ricciardo explained.

“I like the McLaren environment so much and enjoy it so much, I really want to make this project work. i want to be here The trappings also fit. I like the brand, I like the street sports cars.

“I can say that I really like being part of this company, part of the McLaren family. The reason I’m not remotely thinking of another team or beyond my future is because that I even won what was perhaps the hardest year of my career.

“So my thought is: If I win in a year like this, what does that say about the journey ahead? I’m definitely excited and I want to be here, possibly until the end of my career.”

Relationship with Norris

While Ricciardo won a race for McLaren, he was largely outperformed by teammate Lando Norris throughout the season. The Australian elaborated on what it was like to work with the young Brit and how he dealt with the challenges of having a younger but simultaneously more experienced driver within the context of racing for McLaren.

“I think we learned from each other,” Ricciardo said.

“Even in the phases when he was faster than me, I believe that he took certain things from me with him. I don’t want to say it’s 50/50. I probably benefited more from him driving than the other way around.

“If it had been his first year in Formula 1 and he had raced against me like that, it might have hurt my pride a bit. But I’ve been in the sport so long now that I recognize that he’s the man who’s been on the team longer. He knows better.

“When he gives feedback, he refers to the year before. So I realized pretty quickly that I had to forget the years before. Lando is the more experienced pilot in the team when it comes to working with the engineers. 

“So I have to listen and understand how the car is doing. When I talk about what I can’t do with the car, it opens his eyes to what other teams can do. We need to put more energy and attention into it. That’s the good thing.”

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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