Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo has taken note of the ongoing rift between teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez and seized on the opportunity to remind everyone what a good “team player” he is.
Ricciardo has had a tough time ever since leaving Red Bull for Renault back in 2018, but the Australian driver was roped in by the same team ahead of the 2023 season to serve as its reserve.
Ricciardo is currently enjoying the biggest payout of his career and funnily enough, he doesn’t even have to go out on the track and risk his life or entertain audiences for it.
This is largely due to the severance pay he is getting from McLaren, who decided to cut his deal short and replace him with fellow countryman Oscar Piastri.
Ricciardo saw this as the perfect opportunity to catch a break, having spent a decade racing in the pinnacle of motorsport.
It had been rumoured that Verstappen’s ‘hatred‘ for Perez was leading to behind-closed-doors talks about a potential entry route for Ricciardo ahead of time to replace Perez.
However, the Mexican driver has started the season so well that it is highly unlikely such a thing will happen any time soon.
There was plenty of drama even in Jeddah between the two drivers even though Red Bull ended the race with its drivers getting a 1-2 finish.
With Max’s father Jos Verstappen also openly voicing his dislike for Perez, he fuelled the anti-Checo vibe further over the weekend when he didn’t congratulate the 32-year-old after his win.
Taking stock of all this, Ricciardo took to LinkedIn to remind fans just what he could bring to the table if given the chance to race alongside Max once again.
“This is the first year in as long as I can remember that my goals aren’t going to be 100% about racing and competing,” he said on LinkedIn.
“Whilst there’s still an element of that, it’s in a different capacity this year, and I now have space for a separate set of goals to focus on too.
“From a professional point of view, this year is really about being a team player at Red Bull. I’m back in an environment and, ultimately, a family that I have a lot of good memories with, and it feels really good to be back there.
“But it’s not about me this year; it’s about the wider team and trying to contribute and help them where I can.
“Jumping into the simulator, learning their car and helping shape the development are all things I’m focused on doing. In turn, that will develop my abilities, my confidence and my enjoyment behind the wheel.
“It’s been a tough couple of years professionally, so there’s an element of that competitor in me wanting to remind people that I’m still here, still a professional and still contributing to success.”
Red Bull has been in a league of its own in the opening two rounds, and even though Verstappen did suffer a driveshaft failure during qualifying that relegated him to P15 at the start of the race, his pace meant it would not be an insurmountable challenge to grab a podium finish.
That is exactly the way things transpired, as the Dutchman showed plenty of skill and allowed his superior car to talk for itself as he blitzed past the field on a narrow street circuit in Jeddah.
Such has been Red Bull’s dominance that a commentator compared it to Mercedes saying it looked like a Formula 1 car was racing against a Formula 2 opposition.
Say what you want, but the more heated things get between Max and Perez, the bigger the smile you are likely to find on Ricciardo’s face.
The teams will now head to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix which starts at Albert Park on March 31.