Max Verstappen says he would have a good relationship with either Sergio Perez or Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull and feels it’s unfair to be asked who is his preferred teammate.
Ricciardo left Red Bull in 2018 to join Renault, but after a tough stint at McLaren is back at AlphaTauri and impressed in Mexico as he tries to prove he is worthy of a return to the senior team. Perez is under contract for 2024 but is coming under increasing pressure after failing to make Q3 multiple times this season and is currently on a run of five races without a podium, but Verstappen says he wouldn’t choose between the pair.
“I always had a great relationship with Daniel when we were teammates, and when of course we weren’t,” Verstappen said. “At the same time also I have a great relationship with Checo so I find it a bit unfair to now sit here and say who I would prefer as a teammate or whatever.
“They have been great teammates and it’s not up to me at the end of the day to make these kind of decisions because I’m very focused on my own performance.
“So if it’s Checo next year then great — I have a great working relationship with him but also personally I think he is a great guy. If it’s Daniel we also have a great relationship and we will get on fine. F1 can be a tough sport and you are asking these kind of questions, but also maybe nothing happens, right? We’ll see.”
A year ago at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Verstappen refused a team request to help Perez try and finish second in the drivers’ championship. With a similar picture in the standings this season, Verstappen suggests he wouldn’t necessarily accept such an order this time around either.
“Good question. I think at the end of the day it shouldn’t always matter on me to get the points. I’m confident in Checo that he can stay ahead because I do think on average we have the faster car, and I think also last year it wasn’t well spoken about before we got into the race weekend. But let’s just hope we don’t get into that situation — I think it’s better for everyone.”
With Perez under contract, Ricciardo says he hasn’t had any discussions with Red Bull about a potential return to the team in future.
“I haven’t. Obviously all the stuff around my contract next year has been related to AlphaTauri. So yeah, I can say that honestly that’s as far as that goes.
“For me personally, having a weekend like Mexico is definitely good for the soul and also for the team. I haven’t been here long, but for them to be 10th in the constructors’ and then jump two places in the space of two weekends was huge, so I think that creates a very happy atmosphere around everyone. Kinda happy doing that and try to just keep charging on where I am.”