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Verstappen - ‘Very big chance’ Ricciardo could stay at Red Bull

28 Jun 2018

“The chances are very big for him to stay.” That was Max Verstappen’s verdict on whether Daniel Ricciardo will remain with Red Bull beyond this season, while the Australian himself has revealed he’d like to have his future confirmed before Formula 1’s summer break…

Ricciardo is yet to commit his future to Red Bull and is known to have a long list of admirers in the paddock, having enhanced his reputation this season with a string of fine performances which has included stunning victories in China and Monaco.

But rival teams are yet to pounce on the Australian – who has made no secret of his ambition to become a world champion – and Verstappen is keen to continue his perfect partnership with the former Toro Rosso driver, believing they get the best out of each other. 

“He is already here so why wouldn’t he stay? He is a great team mate to have,” Verstappen said. “We have a lot of fun together, but also once we are in the car we are pushing each other to a higher level.

“I enjoy working with him. He is one of the best team mates to have in the paddock in terms of relationship, but also one of the toughest ones. But I like competition so it is perfect to have him as a team mate.”

Now aged 28, Ricciardo is at an important stage of his career and he revealed that now Red Bull have confirmed their partnership to use Honda power next year, he’s looking to make a decision soon.

“I mean of course there has been a bit of interest. I personally want to get something done ideally before the break. More from a personal point of view," Ricciardo said.

“I want to go on break with a clear mind, so it feels like a break. I think it was a few years ago when I was making the transition from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, that all happened during the break. It wasn’t a fun August break for me. Just from that, I’d like to get something done.

“Obviously with Red Bull now they have committed to Honda, I think they kind of got all the cards on their table. I know what I’m getting there. Things are getting to a point where I know what’s what. Hopefully something soon for everyone.”

So will the Honda deal play a role in his decision? Ricciardo doesn’t think so…

“I think in short it probably won’t have an effect on what I choose to do. I think just now, as I touched on, it gives me a bit more clarity of the direction the team’s going.

“As I said, they’ve pretty much got everything now laid out in front of me and it’s really up to me to understand, I guess, what I think of it.

“I see the pros with the decision, obviously, the chance to start something new with Honda and yeah, so, I guess it’s now for me to think about. In a way, it’s a good thing that they have made a decision. We’ll see. Hopefully in a few weeks.”

Ricciardo added that he is happy with his performances this season, having secured a maiden win in Monaco two years after losing out in Monte Carlo when a slow pit stop allowed Lewis Hamilton to eventually triumph.

“One thing I will say is that this year, obviously since I’ve been with the team, but this year the results have showed and having a couple of wins and again Monaco makes me smile when I just say that but it was a big achievement for me, especially after what happened a couple of years ago.

“There’s been some important boxes which I feel I’ve ticked this year which obviously can help me out in discussions and moving forward with my career so yeah, but I guess financial stuff, I’ll keep behind the closed doors. But yeah, I’m happy with where I’m at and with what I feel I can bring to the table.”

Following his fourth-placed finish in France, Ricciardo moved above Valtteri Bottas to third in the drivers’ standings, trailing leader Hamilton by 49 points ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.