Horner: Ricciardo/Verstappen Red Bull’s best driver line-up
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has described Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen as collectively the squad’s best pair of drivers in its history.
Ricciardo moved up from Scuderia Toro Rosso in the wake of Mark Webber’s retirement in 2014, and Verstappen early in 2016 when he swapped seats with Daniil Kvyat.
Following Ricciardo’s last race with Red Bull before he joins the factory Renault team, Horner heaped praise on the duo.
“I said to them in our last debrief that for me, it’s been our best partnership that we’ve had in Red Bull Racing’s career,” he recounted.
“In fact, it’s probably the best one I have ever had in my career in terms of the dynamics between the two, the respect, the way they have pushed each other on.
“I think that’s on-track, and I think they have both benefited each other off-track.
“Max has learned a lot from Daniel, the way he’s operated himself within the team and it’s been a very good rapport and they’ve both pushed each other to new levels.”
With Ricciardo now done in the Red Bull system after more than a decade, Horner reflected on how the West Australian had made his mark for the organisation.
“He’s been a pleasure to have in the team the last five years,” added Horner.
“He’s been with Red Bull since 2007, and it has been great to see him grow and evolve.
“Ironically, when we were first faced with a dilemma of who do we replace Mark Webber with — there was Jean-Eric Vergne, there was Daniel Ricciardo, there was Kimi Raikkonen — our biggest concern about Daniel wasn’t his pace but it was that we hadn’t seen him race wheel to wheel while he was at Toro Rosso.
“And ever since he’s been in a Red Bull Racing car, he’s done nothing but overtake, and arguably has become the best overtaker in the business.
“He’s driven some fantastic races for us. His personality has been a tremendous fit for the brand.
“His energy in the team has been hugely popular, the dynamics with him and Max — you’ve only got to look at the mischief they get up to — it’s been great.
“All we can do, as that chapter closes, is wish him the best of luck for the future and a new chapter opens with a new talent in Pierre Gasly.”