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Verstappen "challenge" makes him Ricciardo's best teammate

Written by  Feb 04, 2018

Daniel Ricciardo has claimed the "challenge" of staying ahead of Max Verstappen makes him the best teammate the Australian has had.

The two Red Bull pilots continued to push each other last season with Ricciardo finishing ahead of the Dutchman in the drivers' standings but lost the qualifying battle, the first time he has done so in F1, and scored one less win.

Their internal fight has extra significance in 2018 with the 27-year-old considering his future but with Verstappen only going to improve, the 'Honey Badger' insists he welcomes the competition.

"I think he's the first driver who can challenge me," he told Motorsport.com.  "I know if I made a little mistake in the past, maybe I could end up ahead still, now if I make a mistake, he's in front.

"It's the same if he doesn't quite put a perfect lap together - I'm in front, this is why I would say he's the better teammate," he added. "We've both raised our game. We can't afford to put a wheel wrong."

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By making the claim, Ricciardo is putting Verstappen ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who he partnered in 2014, that year, however, the German struggled as Red Bull's domination ended and the man from Perth looked to make his mark.

Four years on, the Milton Keynes outfit continues to be close but not close enough in terms of fighting for wins and the championship but the five-time Grand Prix winner does think 2018 can be different.

"I believe this year we will close the gap," he predicted. "Is it enough to fight for a title? I think we can certainly get close."

 

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