Former teammates – Sainz, Ricciardo, Gasly and Albon – of Max Verstappen speak on the Dutchman’s personality and talent, with the Red Bull driver responding.
Among those to speak were his Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, and Alexander Albon, along with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, all of whom shared insightful opinions on the 23-year-old driver’s habits, personality, and talent.
Perhaps the most insightful of them all was Sainz, who says his deeply competitive nature leads to an intensity in teams that he explains he experienced at Toro Rosso in 2015. The Spaniard adds that their fierce competition was enjoyable for him.
“I remember that year  as being intense,” said Sainz to Ziggo Sport. “We both had a lot of intensity in the team, in the car, every time we were out on track we were trying to beat each other, trying to be fastest in FP1, FP2, FP3, and that created a lot of intensity and a lot of competition and I loved it, honestly.
“[That was] one of my most intense years as a racing driver,” Sainz noted, before answering a question on the Dutchman’s potential, whether he can get the job done or not, with certainty: “I think we are both world champion material.”
Gasly, who partnered Verstappen at Red Bull in 2019, jokingly called Verstappen a “cold, fast, bastard,” also saying with confidence that he will win an F1 title. “He’s a cold, fast, bastard! [I remember] in karting we would crash and he wasn’t making me laugh so much, but honestly he’s a great guy and a fun guy to hang out with,” he said.
“He’s going to be world champion at some point. I’m sure about it, it’s a question of time but obviously I’ll beat him at some point!” Gasly concluded, with Ricciardo adding that his competition with Verstappen meant “fun and games” weren’t shared between the two.
Ricciardo and Verstappen shared Red Bull in 2016, 2017, and 2018, before the former left for Renault. “He is tenacious, he is fast, he doesn’t smell too bad actually, doesn’t fart so much, he’s okay… I felt like if he beat me, he just did a better job on that day and that he was faster, so I never felt like there was any fun and games.”
Verstappen’s most recent Red Bull teammate Albon described him as a straightforward character, and one who is agreeable, adding that he is a “strong guy”, whose talents are evidently demonstrable. “He’s a straightforward guy, to be honest with you, and to me there are no issues.
“I think it’s his confidence, and the way that when he wants something, he wants it and you can see that. Of course, I can see how he works and how he operates, so I definitely see attributes to Max. He’s a strong guy,” summed up Albon.
When the panel asked in reverse to Verstappen about his experience with his former teammates, he said that Ricciardo was the most competitive, noting that his experience likely helped him, as he hailed the fight against Sainz too. The Dutchman also pointed out the fact that he has a record of beating his teammates regardless.
“It’s hard to compare with Carlos Sainz at the time because it was our first year in F1, and therefore [we had] minimal experience,” said Verstappen. “Daniel Ricciardo was the hardest to race against in the beginning, but that last year  I think I learned a lot and knew what I wanted. In the end he was the closest to me.
“I think he was the best because of his experience. He’s been in F1 for a long time. [But] I beat all of them anyway, so that is good. My father always said ‘destroy them (teammates)’. And that’s my target with Perez too. It’s always important to be faster than your teammate and besides that, it’s important for the team to join the fight in front with both cars, just like with Daniel back in the day,” summed up Verstappen.
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