DANIEL Ricciardo has hit back at suggestions by Max Verstappen’s dad that he rubbed his teammate’s face in it by over-celebrating after pipping him to pole position in Mexico.
The Dutchman was the man to beat all weekend having set the quickest times, but Ricciardo reminded everyone what he could do with a dramatic quickest lap with only seconds remaining to qualify on pole.
In doing so, he denied Verstappen the record of becoming the youngest ever pole-sitter for a Formula One Grand Prix, leading the 21-year-old’s father Jos to say his son was annoyed with Ricciardo for the way he dealt with his victory.
BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX:
“I was not really happy myself, but I spoke to him (Max) before bedtime,” Verstappen told Ziggo Sport. “I tried to calm him down a bit, he was particularly angry because the car was out of order. That pole position is nice, but winning is of course much more important.
“He was especially annoyed by missing the pole and by the car, but also by Ricciardo. He celebrated his pole position with an exuberance as if he had become world champion. He (Max) was very angry.”
However, Ricciardo, who subsequently recorded his eighth retirement of the season in the Grand Prix when running in second, behind Verstappen, has refuted those claims by Jos, saying while he was not surprised Verstappen was annoyed, he was celebrating because of the year he has had.
“I am not aware of that (Jos’s comments about Max). I was aware Max was p***ed after quali, the press conference and that you could tell he was not too pleased,” Ricciardo said.
“I don’t think it was really directed at me. I think anyone missing their first pole by such a small margin is going to be p***ed. Even if I missed that pole, if I was in his shoes, even if it was not for my first pole, I would still be upset. That is the competitor in us.
“I didn’t see it as anything personal, like I was rubbing it in. I was super happy because it has been a tough year. I was the underdog in that fight for pole. So to do it, I was pretty stoked.
“From his point of view, he was the favourite all weekend, topping all the sessions, and to get pipped by your teammate by two hundredths (of a second), it is going to p*** you off. That is just the competitor.”
Watch every remaining F1 practice, qualifying and race LIVE & EXCLUSIVE with no ad-breaks during racing. Get Sport HD + Entertainment with no lock in contract and no iQ4 set up costs. SIGN UP TODAY! T&C’s Apply