Max Verstappen, who raced alongside Ricciardo at Red Bull from the middle of 2016 to the end of 2018, expressed his optimism that his former teammate will find a new team within Formula 1.
Verstappen also claimed that it was time for Ricciardo to try something new. This comes as the two had an occasionally strained relationship as teammates, but are known for getting along well off the track.
“Sometimes a car cannot suit your driving style,” the reigning world champion told Sky F1. “It’s a very tough place to be in… you have a contract, you try to turn it around, and, if it doesn’t work out, I think sometimes it is better to maybe pursue a different direction… whatever that is.”
“If that’s within F1, I don’t know what he wants, but sometimes it’s better to just step out of it and try something else, but I don’t know.”
“He’s a great guy… I think he’s shown already over time that he’s an amazing driver. He’s won these races and I hope he stays in F1, but we have to wait and see where that will be.”
Sergio Perez also lent support to Ricciardo after finding himself in a similar predicament near the end of the season after Racing Point released him at the end of the 2020 season.
“I’ve been in that situation before and, sometimes, for people sitting back at computers or on social media, it’s very easy to judge things,” Perez said. “But, for us, this is our life… this is what we want to do and we still want to be in the sport.”
“I think it’s always good to sit back sometimes and just enjoy the time because, whatever comes next, it will be great.”
” I think Daniel is in a privileged position as well in the career he’s had up to now, and I’m sure he will find the right opportunity for him.”
In the meantime, ex-F1 driver John Watson stated that he doesn’t think Ricciardo or Alpine will have any real interest in working together once more and that Ricciardo’s McLaren replacement should raise questions owing to the team’s one-sided nature over the past two seasons.