Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomesportVerstappen happy with Perez or Ricciardo as team mate next year

Verstappen happy with Perez or Ricciardo as team mate next year

SA0 PAULO: Triple Formula One world champion Max Verstappen said he would be happy to have either Sergio Perez or Daniel Ricciardo as team mate next season in comments that did nothing to dampen speculation about possible change at Red Bull.

Mexican Perez, 33, has a contract for 2024 but his poor form compared to Verstappen’s domination – the Dutch driver has won 16 of 19 races in 2023 – has fuelled plenty of talk about his future.

Experienced Australian Ricciardo, 34, was Verstappen’s team mate in 2016-18 and his return to the Red Bull fold with AlphaTauri this season leaves him as the favourite to replace Perez.

Verstappen told reporters at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos on Thursday that he had a great relationship with both.

“They have been great team mates and it’s not up to me at the end of the day to make these kind of decisions because I’m very focused on my own performance,” he said.

“So if it’s Checo next year, then great. I have had a great working relationship with him but also personally I think he’s a great guy.

“And if it’s Daniel then also we will get along fine and we have a great time.

“F1 can be a tough sport. You’re asking these kinds of questions but maybe also nothing happens right? We will see,” added the 26-year-old.

Ricciardo, who secured AlphaTauri’s best result of the season when he finished seventh in Mexico last Sunday, told reporters there had been no talks with Red Bull about next season.

“All the stuff around my contract next year has been related to AlphaTauri. I’d say that’s honestly as far as that goes,” he added.

Perez is fighting for second place overall and is 20 points clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with three races remaining. Red Bull have never ended a season with their drivers one-two in the standings.

“I’m confident in Checo (Perez) that he can stay ahead, because I do think that on average we have the faster car,” said Verstappen.

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