Ricciardo: I understand Verstappen’s desire for racing

Daniel Ricciardo says he understands Max Verstappen’s “desire for racing” and willingness “to stand his ground”, with the Australian confident that his Red Bull team-mate will come of age.

Verstappen has come under fire for his aggressive driving at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix and received “a gentle warning” from the FIA ahead of Friday practice at Monza. With Verstappen stealing the limelight, Ricciardo was asked for his take on the Dutchman’s antics.

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“I can’t comment first hand but sure, I’ve seen the replays, I understand Kimi’s point of view, but I also understand Max’s intentions and desire for racing and for wanting to be a real fighter on the track that I also respect,” he replied.

“You’ve just got to find a balance, he’ll find it, he’s obviously still very young I was nowhere near Formula 1 at 18 years old so he’s already in a different position to me.

“I think the basics for him are in the right place; he wants to fight he wants to battle and wants to stand his own ground so it’s not all that bad.”

A defiant Verstappen told the media on Thursday that he would not change his gung-ho approach to racing but Ricciardo believes the 18-year-old will eventually heed other drivers’ recommendations as he grows more mature.

“I think he will if everyone keeps giving him a hard time. I think he will because it’s probably just age coming out, I know when I was – I mean I’m still immature – but at that age you’re going through a lot and you’re growing up from a boy to a man, you want to be your own man, so when someone tells you to do something I think your natural reaction is to oppose it.

“I think it’s just a bit of that coming out and maybe a bit of frustration after the race, I don’t expect it to change night and day this weekend, perhaps it will just be refined over the course of the season.”

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