Formula 1

Ricciardo Downplays Verstappen-Norris Clash: “Just Hard Battle for the Lead”

2 Mins read
Photo: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Daniel Ricciardo has defended his former teammate Max Verstappen after his coming together with Lando Norris towards the end of the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo spent two and a half years alongside Verstappen at Oracle Red Bull Racing and the pair raced closely during that time and even famously came together at the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Despite a few incidents during their time as teammates, the pair remain close friends with lots of mutual respect for each other. 

Verstappen has always been known for his no-nonsense driving style, but there has been times where it’s crossed the line, especially in the 2021 title fight with Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen has avoided any controversial incidents until recently, when he came together with Norris in a fight for the lead of the Austrian Grand Prix, which was ultimately seen as the Dutchman’s fault by the stewards – handing Verstappen a 10 second time penalty.

Ricciardo has defended his former teammate speaking to the media at Silverstone, claiming that it wasn’t dangerous: “You’re fighting for a win so you’re not just going to wave someone by. I think the contact can happen probably nine times out of 10 with no consequence.”

“They’d been going back and forth, maybe the angle was a bit awkward, Lando ended the race. I think the outcome was probably bigger than what was actually happening on track. What I saw at least, nothing seemed over the top. Was it pushing the edge? Probably. But was anything dangerous or reckless? At least from what I’ve seen, no.

“I think honestly, it’s good that there’s a hard battle for the lead. Unfortunately it ended that way for them, but that’s how it goes.”

“It sounds like people are probably hammering Max a bit. I don’t know if it… it sounds like it’s probably blown a little bit out of proportion. Like I say he’s unchanged, when I say he’s unchanged, I think it’s the way he goes racing.”

Ricciardo thinks claims that Verstappen hasn’t matured since the start of his career simply aren’t true and the incident between his two former teammates was just unfortunate and the sort of thing that happens when fighting for the lead.

“Do I think he matured since the start of his career? Absolutely. It’s not like he’s finding himself in these positions all the time. As I said, you’re fighting for a win. It was unfortunate. I don’t think the incident they had was dangerous. It was fairly low speed, it wasn’t a Turn 9 situation here at Copse in ’21, that obviously had a lot bigger consequence.”

Photo: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool
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