Verstappen calls choice between Perez and Ricciardo 'unfair'


Max Verstappen says he has a good relationship with both Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo and would welcome either driver as his teammate at Red Bull in 2024, but asking him to choose his preferred teammate is "unfair".

Perez is contracted to the Milton Keynes-based outfit until the end of next year and while Red Bull’s top brass has provided assurances that he will be racing with the team next season, the Mexican is still unable to step up his performance level.

Consequently, speculation regarding Ricciardo moving to back to Red Bull, where he raced for five seasons between 2014 and 2018, continues to linger.

Asked ahead of this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix who he would prefer as his teammate in the future, Verstappen said that he was impartial to both drivers. But he also disputed the premise of the question.

“I always had a great relationship with Daniel when we were teammates, and when of course we weren’t,” Verstappen said.

“At the same time also I have a great relationship with Checo so I find it a bit unfair to now sit here and say who I would prefer as a teammate or whatever.

“They have been great teammates and it’s not up to me at the end of the day to make these kind of decisions because I’m very focused on my own performance.

“So if it’s Checo next year then great — I have a great working relationship with him but also personally I think he is a great guy.

“If it’s Daniel we also have a great relationship and we will get on fine. F1 can be a tough sport and you are asking these kind of questions, but also maybe nothing happens, right? We’ll see.”


In last year’s race at Interlagos, there occurred a moment when Verstappen was given a team order to wave Perez through to help boost the Mexican’s chances of finishing second in the championship.

This year, with three races to go, Perez must defend his runner-up spot in the Drivers’ standings against Lewis Hamilton who now sits just 20 points behind the Red Bull charger.

Asked if he would be inclined this time around to help his teammate if called upon to do so, Verstappen’s mindset hasn’t seemed to have changed.

“Good question. I think at the end of the day it shouldn’t always matter on me to get the points,” he said.

“I’m confident in Checo that he can stay ahead because I do think on average we have the faster car, and I think also last year it wasn’t well spoken about before we got into the race weekend.

“But let’s just hope we don’t get into that situation — I think it’s better for everyone.”

For all the speculation surrounding Ricciardo’s potential return to Red Bull, the Aussie says he hasn’t had any discussions with the team on the topic.

“I haven’t. Obviously all the stuff around my contract next year has been related to AlphaTauri. So yeah, I can say that honestly that’s as far as that goes,” he asserted.

“For me personally, having a weekend like Mexico is definitely good for the soul and also for the team.

“I haven’t been here long, but for them to be 10th in the constructors’ and then jump two places in the space of two weekends was huge, so I think that creates a very happy atmosphere around everyone. Kinda happy doing that and try to just keep charging on where I am.”

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