Sunday, December 5News That Matters

Daniel Ricciardo claims Lewis Hamilton’s rivalry with Max Verstappen has silencing the doubters

Lewis Hamilton’s simmering rivalry with Max Verstappen is allowing the seven-time world champion to cement his greatness by finally silencing any lingering doubters.

That’s the view of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, whose team-mate Lando Norris agrees that the battle is good for Formula One’s popularity.

Hamilton and Red Bull’s Verstappen have tussled for top spot in each of this season’s first four races, with Hamilton pipping the 23-year-old on three weekends and the Red Bull driver securing victory in Italy last month.

Daniel Ricciardo says Lewis Hamilton (R) has silenced his remaining doubters with his rivalry with Max Verstappen (L)

Daniel Ricciardo says Lewis Hamilton (R) has silenced his remaining doubters with his rivalry with Max Verstappen (L)

Daniel Ricciardo says Lewis Hamilton (R) has silenced his remaining doubters with his rivalry with Max Verstappen (L)

Speaking as the teams prepare to descend on Monaco for the first time since the pandemic, Australian Ricciardo said: ‘Every race they’ve had a battle, every race they’ve been side-by-side at some point and it’s good for the sport.’

He added: ‘You’re really starting to (see) a lot of people properly tipping their hat to Lewis, he’s getting it dished back at him and holding his ground and showing people, maybe who doubted him, why he is as good as he is…. who will get the best of it? At this stage, I guess you’d always take experience.’

Ricciardo feels the battle between Hamilton and Verstappen is of huge benefit to Formula 1

Ricciardo feels the battle between Hamilton and Verstappen is of huge benefit to Formula 1

Ricciardo feels the battle between Hamilton and Verstappen is of huge benefit to Formula 1 

Norris agrees. ‘When you see a race for the win its always more interesting,’ the 21-year-old said. ‘It’s even exciting as a driver to watch and re-watch the battles they have. And they’re quite different drivers… which makes it even more interesting. 

‘Who’s going to come out on top? It’s difficult, you’d say on average the Mercedes has looked quicker this season, they also have (Valtteri) Bottas more often than (Sergio) Perez to back them up and help with the strategy which makes a big difference… if Perez was up there, it’s not easy for Lewis but maybe it wouldn’t look as easy as it does!’

The McLaren pair were speaking as the British team unveiled a one-off car for the Monaco Grand Prix. 

To celebrate their partnership, McLaren will adopt Gulf’s timeless blue and orange-stripe design all weekend – on their cars, race suits and team kit. The drivers’ helmets, also carrying special retro designs, will be raffled to raise money for mental health charity, Mind.