Daniel Ricciardo believes Max Verstappen is "out of the box" faster than Sebastian Vettel, but the Aussie still considers the Ferrari driver as one of F1's toughest and best.
If there are two drivers who Ricciardo knows inside out, it is indeed Vettel and Verstappen, having raced alongside both at Red Bull Racing.
In the latest installment of Nico Rosberg's Beyond Victory podcast, the Renault driver was asked by the 2016 world champion which of his former team mates was faster over a single lap.
"Max, yeah…," quipped Ricciardo.
"I won’t take anything away from Seb, he is not slow by any means.
"Probably as well because Max is still young, and if he’s quick now, he’s probably only going to get quicker.
"Seb has been doing it that long, I think you always improve as a driver, but there’s less room for him to grow, and more for Max.
"If Seb’s listening, sorry Seb! You’re still a badass, it’s alright!"
Vettel and Verstappen have often been at odds with each other out on the race track in the past few seasons. Ricciardo offered a bit of insight into why he considers the Dutchman as such a formidable talent.
"Max is just quick out of the box," added the seven-time Grand Prix winner.
"FP1, first lap, he’s just like go. There wasn’t much of a feeling out process. I think [Max] drives on a lot of instinct.
"He is still technical but I guess Seb is much more of a sensitive driver. A lot of senses in his body to communicate with the car but Max probably drives off more instinct and raw talent."