Verstappen arrival was big for my season - Ricciardo

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Daniel Ricciardo admits "it was a big thing" when Max Verstappen was promoted to Red Bull and helped spur him on this season.

Verstappen had impressed at Toro Rosso but it was still a surprise when Red Bull opted to replace Daniil Kvyat with the then 18-year-old at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Dutch driver duly went and won his first race for the team and Ricciardo acknowledges the importance of Verstappen's arrival in pushing him to perform to his best this season.

"It was a big thing," Ricciardo told the official Red Bull website. "Especially that first weekend in Spain which was pretty crazy, and not just because he won. I suspect the team didn’t know how good Max was and where he was going to fit.

"His win really gave us good energy and pushed us on to get stronger. In Spain everybody was watching, wondering if we’d made a mistake swapping Dany and Max around. I think his win was a relief more than anything, and it definitely pushed us on. Certainly it pushed me on."

And Ricciardo believes his own strong start to the year actually played a part in Red Bull's decision to promote Verstappen at such an early stage.

"I think I’d been at the right level from the start of the season – which may have caused some of the commotion in the first place because I had a better start than Dany. With Max, I felt we were pushing each other from the off. He was closer to me in qualifying and so naturally that provides a spur because you’re looking at each other’s data and finding an extra bit here and there. It makes you better."

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