Punted into a spin by Daniel Ricciardo at the Honda Racing Thanks Day 2023, Max Verstappen joked the Aussie was trying to “kill everyone” out on track.
Red Bull and AlphaTauri may be powered by Red Bull’s Powertrain Division but at the end of the day, it’s still a Honda engine.
And the World Champions were out on track this past weekend in front of Honda’s Japanese fans to mark ‘Honda Racing 2023 Thanks Day 2023’.
‘He was literally trying to kill everyone out there’
That involved a karting race with the Red Bull drivers, Verstappen and Sergio Perez, joined by their AlpahTauri counterparts, Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda.
Taking place at the Motegi circuit where they were joined by the likes of former MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez to name just a few stars, the Spaniard taking part in his final Honda outing, Tsunoda did a demonstration run in a Brabham Honda BT16 while two-time Super Formula champion Tomoki Nojiri drove the title-winning 2021 RB16B car.
It was, however, the kart race that created some of the best laughs as Ricciardo was determined not to lose to Verstappen – at least not while they were in equal machinery.
Blatantly cutting the corner in a late-braking move, Ricciardo ploughed into F1’s reigning World Champion to pitch him into a spin and take the position from him.
The good news is the Red Bull champion found it rather amusing.
“It went quite well but then Daniel decided to be a terrorist,” said the Dutchman with a laugh.
“He was literally trying to kill everyone out there.”
— SoyMotor.com (@SoyMotor) December 3, 2023
But while the day did not include donuts from either Verstappen or Ricciardo, Perez and Tsunoda gave it a go in formation.
Tsunoda, though, got a little too close to the wall for AlphaTauri’s liking.
According to F1’s rumour mill, Verstappen could have Ricciardo as his team-mate as early as round two of next year’s championship with the Mexican driver under pressure to perform from the get-go.
Verstappen was asked about his preference last month and replied: “They have been great team-mates 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 had a great working relationship with him but also personally I think he’s a great guy.
“And if it’s Daniel then also we will get along fine and we have a great time.
“F1 can be a tough sport. You’re asking these kinds of questions but maybe also nothing happens right? We will see.”