By Abhishek Takle
BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is raring to turn the tables on team-mate Max Verstappen in Sunday’s Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix after taking recent results on the chin.
Verstappen, 18, was promoted from Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso ahead of May’s Spanish Grand Prix and the Dutch driver then triumphed on his debut, becoming the sport’s youngest grand prix winner.
He has out-raced Ricciardo, one of the most highly-rated drivers on the grid, in the last two races with two second places.
“I’m aware he’s done very well and he’s had the win and the podiums,” said the Australian, who beat four times champion Sebastian Vettel in his first season at Red Bull before the German left for Ferrari.
“You don’t like getting beaten but I think at the same time…if it’s just he was better on that day or he worked better with the engineers and he set the car up better, then you just have to take it on the chin and move forward.”
Verstappen has finished ahead of the Australian in four of the six races they have driven together, and has finished on the podium three times compared to a sole rostrum result for Ricciardo this season.
Ricciardo had held the edge over his team-mate in qualifying but Verstappen ended the 27-year-old’s unbeaten Saturday run at the British Grand Prix two weeks ago.
While the teenager’s performance has been impressive, Ricciardo has been hit by a string of poor luck.
He was on course for the win in May’s Monaco Grand Prix until a bungled pitstop cost him the lead and handed victory to Mercedes’ triple world champion Lewis Hamilton instead.
At the last race in Silverstone, pitting for a change of tyres just before the virtual safety car was deployed cost him vital time and dropped him out of contention for the podium.
Verstappen finished third, which became second after championship leader Nico Rosberg’s post-race penalty.
Sunday’s race at the circuit where Ricciardo claimed victory two years ago, followed by a podium finish last year, could be just the chance the Australian needs to get back on even terms with his team-mate.
“Obviously he’s done very well. But I think once I get the ball rolling it’ll be okay,” he said.
(Editing by Alan Baldwin)