Daniel Ricciardo has insisted that he is not threatened by Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen even though the 18-year-old has outscored him this season.
Since joining the Red Bull team from Toro Rosso at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, which he won to become the youngest Formula 1 winner in history, Verstappen has gone on to secure two more podium finishes in Austria and Britain, where he came second on both occasions.
Verstappen has outscored Ricciardo by 13 points in total, but the Australian sees no reason to be frightened by the teen prodigy.
“You look and if he’s to keep progressing at the rate he’s started – if he’s to keep getting better and better in the next five, 10 years – perhaps it’s frightening for quite a few people,” he told reporters. “The only thing I’m scared of are sharks and snakes, so that’s OK!
Ricciardo also made it clear that he and Verstappen have a healthy relationship and added that he will make no excuses for himself should he continue to be outscored by the Dutchman.
“If anyone’s doing the winning, you want it to be you,” Ricciardo said. “It’s not concern [about being outscored by Verstappen], obviously I’m aware he’s obviously done very well, had the win and the podiums.
“I don’t like looking back to be honest but, sure, I could have had at least one win. He’s been competitive and it’s not been that I’ve had all the bad luck and he’s had all the good luck.”
While Verstappen has got the better of Ricciardo in terms of points scored thus far, the 27-year-old pointed out that he still has time to catch up with his team-mate.
“He’s been quick and he’s put himself there. I won’t ever make excuses if he’s beaten me fair and square,” he said. “I think generally he’s been quicker – unfortunately he’s scored more than me! But I’ve got a few races now to close that up.
“It’s not really about anyone in the team jumping on board with him or me, it’s just about being the best I can. I still believe that if I am, I’ll be quick.”