Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he didn’t see a threat from Max Verstappen after he was swapped with current Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.
After the young Dutchman won the Spanish Grand Prix earlier in the season, it was only then when Ricciardo began to realise what he’s up against.
Since Verstappen’s victory, he has out-performed the Australian, securing three more podium finishes than him, including finishing second consecutively, at the Austrian and British Grand Prix’s. His other podium was at the recent German Grand Prix, where he finished third.
Ricciardo has also finished third and second in that time, but since joining the team, Verstappen has put in some strong performances which have kept the Australian on his toes.
“I certainly underestimated Max, I knew I had a challenge, I knew he would be fast because I’ve known Carlos Sainz longer than I’ve known Verstappen and I know he is bloody is fast,” Ricciardo spoke.
“Max and he were pretty evenly matched, the young drivers of today learn so quickly. Verstappen is a potential world champion of the future.
“I also knew that Red Bull put him out of the car to create a hype in the media. They had analysed in his performance at Toro Rosso and drew the conclusion that Max was ready.
“But you have to hold your own in this sport, and Verstappen does.”
Ricciardo is currently sitting third in the Driver’s Championship, behind the two Mercedes’, whilst Verstappen is in sixth place.