Ricciardo surprised by size of Gasly deficit to Verstappen

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Daniel Ricciardo had admitted that he's surprised to see Pierre Gasly struggling so badly to keep up with the pace of his Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen.

Having proven himself at Toro Rosso last season, Gasly took over the race seat from Ricciardo when the Australian opted to move to Renault during the winter off-season.

Much had been expected of the Frenchman this season after his promotion to the senior squad, but instead he's been comprehensively out-classed by his more experienced - but younger - team mate in 2019.

Ricciardo told Motorsport Week that he had expected Gasly to be closer in terms of performance, and delivering more consistent results.

"The reality is reality, he is a long way off Max," Ricciardo said about the current situation at his old team. "It’s a tough one with him now.

“I don’t know what it is at the moment with Pierre," he continued. "Last year he got some big results with Toro Rosso, which was clearly not as good a car as the Red Bull."

Gasly's best result this season so far was at Silverstone when he finished in fourth place at the British Grand Prix. But he's also failed to score points in three of the 12 races to date in 2019.

That compares with a brilliant run of results for Verstappen, who has yet to finish outside the top five this season.

He scored Red Bull's first win with Honda at Austria together with a second two races later in wet conditions in Germany. And in Hungary, he finally secured his first-ever F1 career pole position.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Renault F1 Team.

"On one side they are happy with Max and the first pole for him," Ricciardo commented. "But on the other hand I think deep down they know that they could be scoring a lot more points [with Gasly].

"[It's] a tough one. I know Max as a team-mate I know he is [very strong]," Ricciardo continued. I didn’t expect Pierre to come out and beat him.

“I’m not surprised that Max is beating him - but I am surprised at the gap."

Looking at Verstappen's sparkling performance in 2019 since Red Bull's switch to Honda power, Ricciardo admitted that in some ways he'd prefer to trade places with the Dutch driver.

He's only been in the points on four occasions, and is currently languishing in 11th place in the drivers championship. However, at the same time he insists that he still doesn't regret his decision to move to Renault.

“I watched the onboard of Max and it looked pretty planted, and with the Honda they are doing well," he said. "It’s a big contrast of where I am and where he is.

"I don’t want to say that’s hard to take, but I’d rather be where he is than where I am [in terms of grid position]," he admitted.

“But equally, I still don’t regret anything 12 months down the track.”

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