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Formula 1 British GP

Verstappen: Ricciardo impressing after "reset" ahead of F1 test return

Max Verstappen says it is no surprise that Daniel Ricciardo has been impressing Red Bull after electing to take a Formula 1 career "reset".

Daniel Ricciardo, Third Driver, Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Ricciardo signed up as Red Bull’s third driver this year in a bid to rebuild his career after losing his seat at McLaren following two disappointing campaigns.

And while Red Bull admitted that the Australian seemed out of sorts with his driving during his first runs in the team’s simulator, he made rapid progress to get back up to speed and is now viewed as an important weapon in the squad’s war chest.

Ricciardo will get his first run in Red Bull’s 2023 F1 car at Silverstone this week as part of the post-British Grand Prix Pirelli test.

And, if he impresses the squad there, it could boost his chances of it electing to put him back in a race seat in 2024.

Verstappen has been working closely with Ricciardo this season and has said that the impressive job he is doing should really have been expected considering his talent.

“He's doing a good job in the simulator,” explained Verstappen. “But you know, that's not something I'm amazed about.

“Of course, he had difficult years at McLaren, but you don't lose your talent. And, of course, he also has a lot of experience.

Publicity stunts have kept Ricciardo busy in 2023 - but he's also done some serious work behind the scenes

Publicity stunts have kept Ricciardo busy in 2023 - but he's also done some serious work behind the scenes

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“I think he also just feels very comfortable with us at the moment. He says so himself, and that he took a bit of a step back to reset himself. In the end, he just feels at home in our team.

“Of course, he has been with this team long enough. He is now in the simulator and listens very well to what we are saying. He also asks a lot.

“I know Daniel very well, so we can talk about a lot of things. I can ask him if he wants to test something for me on the simulator or what his opinion is on a particular thing, future parts, all that kind of stuff.”

Ricciardo’s solid job for Red Bull comes at a time when the future of regular driver Sergio Perez has been in the spotlight after a run of recent disappointing qualifying results.

Yet another failure to make it through to Q3 in the British Grand Prix, the fifth consecutive race it has happened, fuelled talk that he could be under pressure to retain his seat, despite having a firm contract in place.

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Red Bull insists, however, that it is not considering anyone other than Perez at the moment, and its stance will remain unchanged as long as the Mexican is second in the drivers’ championship standings.

Asked if Perez’s qualifying struggles could start being a cause for concern for Red Bull, Verstappen said: “You have to ask Helmut [Marko] or Christian [Horner] about that. But yes, of course, we are also fighting for the team championship. But I think I can do that on my own at the moment!

Additional reporting by Erwin Jaeggi

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