Max Verstappen’s former teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, believes the Red Bull driver has “polished up” his aggression and is benefitting from a more mature approach to the drivers’ championship.
Verstappen holds an eight-point lead over Lewis Hamilton heading into the penultimate race in Saudi Arabia, and their rivalry has had several flashpoints throughout the season, including collisions at the British and Italian Grands Prix.
Verstappen’s aggression came under further scrutiny in Brazil earlier this month when he ran wide and forced Hamilton off the track as they battled for the lead.
However, Ricciardo, who partnered Verstappen at Red Bull from 2016 to 2018, believes the 24-year-old has used his aggression much better this season.
“I think in general, being his teammate, I don’t know if I have any more knowledge than everyone watching from the outside, because I think teammate or not, we know Max, you know, the calibre of driving, how he races,” said Ricciardo.
“I think he always came in with an aggressive approach, but I think he’s certainly matured over time and certainly finds himself in less incidents or accidents as I feel he was in the first year or so in F1. So I think he’s definitely polished up that aggression but still has it.
“I don’t know, whether the move was right or wrong, you know, fighting for a win, and I guess the championship at this stage, you’re obviously going to try and fight for as long as you can and do everything you can to hold onto that lead and obviously that one took them both off, so maybe that was over the limit.
“But yeah, I don’t think anything has changed over time. As I said, since the first year I think he matured, but I think the last few years the approach hasn’t changed and I think that’s, in a way, what I’ve always respected, is you know you’re going to get raced hard with Max.”