Max Verstappen joked about the prospect of being reunited with Daniel Ricciardo in the future at Red Bull, claiming he never wanted him to leave in the first place.
Ricciardo left Red Bull at the end of the 2018 Formula 1 season and went on to race for Renault for two seasons, then McLaren, were his contract was cancelled one year in advance after failing to live up to the team’s expectations.
He was given refuge by Red Bull as a reserve driver, but as they say: One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Nyck de Vries fluffed his AlphaTauri opportunity and lost his seat to the Australian.
Ricciardo didn’t hide the fact that he looks at his time at AlphaTauri as an audition for a Red Bull seat in the future, especially as Sergio Perez continues to struggle.
Asked how he felt if Ricciardo becomes his teammate again, Verstappen said: “I mean, I never actually wanted him to leave! No, I mean, all of these things… We know that we get on very well.
“If Daniel does well where he is now, then of course you have the opportunity to go back up, right? So, it’s all open to be honest,” he added.
“I spoke already quite a bit with Daniel last week,” the Dutchman added. “I could see he was very excited! Also after driving our car. Of course, it’s great to have Daniel back on the grid, within the family.
De Vries is an incredible driver
“On the other side I’m also good friends with Nyck, so it’s sad to see him go,” he said of his compatriot. “But unfortunately that’s also how this world works. I don’t think there are any hard feelings, that’s just how it goes. You have to move on, there are a lot of other opportunities out there.
“I’m sure everyone will land back on their feet like normal and you move on. Now the opportunity’s here with Daniel again, he had his little reset, so I think he’s ready to go again,” he maintained.
The Red Bull ace, went on saying a few nice words about De Vries; he said: “I think we all know that Nyck is an incredible driver, he’s shown that in every single category.
“I think these new generation of cars, when you’re a rookie, it doesn’t matter what age you are or whatever, they are quite difficult, I think, to get on top of, plus that the car probably is not the most competitive, [which] all made it a bit harder.
“You just sometimes need these one or two moments where you shine, where you maybe get a point or two points, and these kind of moments didn’t happen. Then the team wanted to change something and that’s also part of F1.
“I know that he has a lot of opportunities, I spoke to him also last week, we saw each other, and he will definitely find his feet again with a great team somewhere in a great championship.
“I don’t think it actually is the end of the world,” the reigning F1 World Champion concluded.