According to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo, his team-mate, Max Verstappen, has increased in maturity throughout the 2017 Formula One season.
Verstappen has had his fair share of controversy in his Formula One career thus far, notably coming under scrutiny in 2016 for his dangerous defensive driving and for colliding with Ricciardo on Lap One of the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix.
However, despite some strong words from Ricciardo directly after the incident (that saw his race come to an early end), he later announced that Verstappen had apologised to him immediately, without being prompted by the team.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Ricciardo said that “The hot water in Budapest, that was a bit of a test. Fortunately, he handled it well afterwards and apologised and did what he had to.”
Ricciardo also commented “Max matured a lot this year, on and off the track. On track, he was more sensible. He was under a lot less scrutiny than he was last year” and that he feels “like he also respects the competitors a bit more.”
The Australian also does not see the relationship turning sour if the two drivers were ever to be fighting each other for a World Championship, claiming that a poor relationship would ever arise if they “lost respect for each other.”
Even though Ricciardo did finish the year ahead of Verstappen in the standings, it was the Dutchman who won more races – winning two to Ricciardo’s one after suffering from poor reliability earlier in the season. But Ricciardo acknowledged these wins, and says that the two drivers are at a point where they can admit if the other has driven better on the day.
“The races he won this year, I acknowledged it, said he was a better driver on the weekend or the day. And that was that.
“If you’re honest, acknowledge he did better and then find a way not to let it happen again.”