Former Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has denied the claims of team principal Christian Horner that he is “running from a fight” with Max Verstappen.
During filming for Formula 1’s upcoming Netflix documentary on the 2018 season, Horner is said to have questioned whether Ricciardo was “making the right career choice” following the Australian’s shock move to Renault.
According to The Telegraph, in one episode Horner says: “My assumption is that he is running from a fight.”
Despite a positive relationship off the track with Max Verstappen, the Aussie admitted that Red Bull’s handling of their collision in last season’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix was “one of the little pieces” that led to him deciding to leave the team.
Verstappen would get the better of his more experienced team-mate in 2018, thanks largely to the catalogue of reliability issues which plagued the 29-year-old.
In an interview with Australian media outlet EFTM, Ricciardo hit back at the comments made by Horner.
“Firstly, and I’m sure he’s not the only one who has that opinion, I can see how people might want to think that or say that.
“Everyone has an opinion. That hasn’t been pulled out of nowhere. It is what is – I obviously say no, not true. I love a good fight.
“It was more about me than Max. It was about me, a lot of reasons.
“One, I’ve stated a few times and I think some people will understand it, I was at Red Bull five years.
“They’d won four World Titles and I joined straight after that.
“In five years, looking from that first year, I’m going to win a World Title. That’s going to happen.
“It didn’t and we never really got close. I’m not bitter about it, that’s what happened.”
Ricciardo was keen to take himself away from this frustrating environment, not liking the person he risked becoming.
“My ability to become more frustrated in this environment was too high and I just don’t want to be that kind of unhappy, bitter person that’s just always ‘what could have been’, or ‘if only I’ve joined Red Bull in 2013’,” he explained.
“So, it wasn’t about Max. [But] I understand how some people might think that.”