Ricciardo offers cheeky explanation for teammate's woes
NEITHER Daniel Ricciardo nor his Red Bull team can explain Max Verstappen's run of mechanical mishaps in 2017 - although that didn't stop the Aussie from devising a cheeky explanation of his own.
Verstappen was running fifth in the early laps of the Belgian Grand Prix before an engine problem forced him out of the race.
It's the third time in six races that the Dutchman's Renault engine let him down - and in each of those races, Ricciardo has finished on the podium.
After finishing third behind race winner Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo was asked if a difference in driving style or experience is behind why the No. 3 is making it to the ends of races and the No. 33 is not.
"I do a lot of things with my driving style which is very nice to the car," Ricciardo began.
"I actually talk to it a lot during the race. I massage it. I wouldn't call it foreplay but it's something like that and Max is young, he's aggressive, he goes straight in!
"I know you're shaking your head but I feel like you knew the answer would be something silly like that."
A more serious Ricciardo then explained that the team had investigated both their driving styles in a bid to identify a possible reason - something more tangible than bad luck - for Verstappen's run of outs.
"In all seriousness, I don't have an answer for it," Ricciardo said.
"I've honestly ... I have asked before. I've even asked all the guys in the team, the mechanical and also from the power unit side and I've said is there something you see Max is doing which I should maybe avoid and they said no, there's nothing he's doing. He's not over-revving it or anything silly."
Speaking to foxsports.com.au after the race, Ricciardo maintained that he would prefer "a good clean fight until the end" with Verstappen on the track to watching his teammate bow out early.
"I don't celebrate his misfortunes, absolutely not, but I guess it's something which I can't really control or have a say in," Ricciardo told foxsports.com.au.
"I guess I'm not the guy to console him or put my arm around him (laughs) he's got his manager and his family to do that. I kind of just, in a way, stay out of it. I go up and, you know, tell him I feel bad for him, but there's not much more to do."
Ricciardo also affirmed that the pair have drawn a line under their Lap 1 clash in Hungary last month, their one-on-one chat before the team's post-race debrief allowing them to clear the air.
"After Hungary I was pretty pleased with how we left it Sunday night," Ricciardo said.
"Obviously we were going on holiday as well so if we didn't get it cleared Sunday night after that race it would've dragged out. We got that sorted, and I'd moved on by Monday morning after Budapest."