Mark Webber believes that the man who replaced him at Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo has the composure to get on top of his sensational young teammate Max Verstappen in what should be an intriguing battle within the team this season.
Speaking to journalists at the Bathurst 24 Hours, Webber said, “It will be tight, as it was at the end of last year. I think Daniel still has more composure. Obviously that experience will be very useful for him, particularly in the early part of the championship.”
“When you’ve seen more regulation, like he has done, driven different types of cars, that’s an advantage for him,” said Webber in reference to the fact that Ricciardo has driven for HRT, Toro Rosso and Red Bul while sampling the big change from normally aspirated formula to the current hybrid turbo era.
“It’s going to be a good battle there. But the composure side is a big plus for Daniel. He’s got plenty of fire too, and it’s all about putting the weekends together. Max is still learning, with that unbelievable talent.”
Asked how strong Red Bull will be against Mercedes, the Australian replied, “I think Red Bull have had a quiet winter and they’re going to be quite strong. It really depends on who unlocks these new regulations. Traditionally, Adrian [Newey] has been very good at that.”
“Mercedes have had the luxury of closing out the constructors’ championship very early last year, so that gives you a big chance to put your resources into the next year’s programme earlier than anyone else potentially.”
“They have a very good engine, we know that’s their main strength. Operationally, Red Bull were the best team last year. With reliability they were the best team, Mercedes had a few technical challenges.”
“So if it’s nip and tuck when down to the fine points… Red Bull are very good at that,” added Webber who quit F1 at the end of 2013 and hung up his helmet last year after a successful stint as a WEC driver, winning the world title in 2015 with Porsche.