MAY 26, 2016
Ricciardo still in the game with new engine
Red Bull has made clear Daniel Ricciardo is still in the game at the energy drink company's top F1 team.
Although the Australian is an established F1 star, it has been F1 teen sensation Max Verstappen grabbing all the praise and headlines in the wake of his Barcelona win.
"What? Verstappen won the last race?" a grinning Ricciardo said sarcastically in Monaco.
F1 legend Niki Lauda, however, thinks there will not just be grinning behind the scenes.
"It is difficult for Ricciardo," he told Osterreich newspaper. "He is tormented by what Verstappen managed (in Spain) and will want to hit back now."
Ricciardo admitted he struggled to get over not winning in Spain with his inferior three-stop strategy, but insists he never suspected Red Bull deliberately fouled up his race to favour Verstappen.
"I never thought anything like that," Ricciardo insisted. "The three stop was done with the best of intentions."
Indeed, with only one new-spec Renault engine available to Red Bull this weekend, the team has taken the decision to fit it to Ricciardo's car rather than Verstappen's.
"It was always clear that whoever is ahead in the championship would get the engine if there is only one of them," Ricciardo said.
"That was already decided before Max came into the team."
As for facing off each weekend against a driver now compared with a young Senna or Schumacher, Ricciardo said he is happy to have Verstappen as his teammate.
"If I can get on top then it is only good for me and probably for both of our careers," he said.