Daniel Ricciardo admires Max Verstappen for the way the two-time Formula 1 World Champion has not let his success change his personality.
The duo raced together at Red Bull until Ricciardo departed for 2019 for two-and-a-half seasons with Verstappen guiding the team to a second successful era with two Drivers' titles, and a third to be added soon, as well as regaining the Constructors' Championship in 2022 after eight years of Mercedes wins.
Ricciardo returned as third driver to Red Bull for 2023 after losing his race seat with McLaren, and was loaned out to AlphaTauri to replace Nyck de Vries, before this comeback was halted due to a broken hand suffered in Dutch Grand Prix practice.
He has missed the Dutch and Italian Grands Prix, and is also expected to be out for Singapore and Japan owing to the physicality of those circuits, with a tentative return for Qatar - by which time Verstappen could have wrapped up his third straight title.
Despite his re-writing of the record book, Ricciardo is sure that Verstappen has not changed his personality.
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Ricciardo 'admires' Verstappen
"I was team-mates with Max for quite a few years, and we always had a pretty good time when we were team-mates together and had a laugh," Ricciardo told Red Bull's in-house Talking Bull podcast.
"Even more so in the last few years, we've got on really well.
"I admire Max for his approach to racing, but also, after the success that he's had particularly over the last few years, he is kind of unchanged.
"Personality, mindset, whatever, it is like he hasn't really been affected by the success.
"That is easier said than done, and certainly at this level, I think admirable."