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Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo hits back at McLaren’s Verstappen criticism

Daniel Ricciardo has offered his view on the recent clash between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris.

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Daniel Ricciardo has hit back at McLaren team principal Andrea Stella's criticism of Max Verstappen after the on-track drama that unfolded at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend.

In the fallout of last weekend's clash in Austria between Verstappen and Lando Norris, Stella stated that he did not want to "see another 2021".

Throughout that year, Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had several battles during that campaign which often resulted in contact. 

Verstappen received a 10-second time penalty following the collision with Norris at the Red Bull Ring but still classified in fifth place to extend his championship lead. 

In Ricciardo's eyes, McLaren has made the incident sound worse than it actually was.

"I think referencing something a few years ago, it sounds like people are probably hammering Max of it," Ricciardo told select media including RacingNews365

"It sounds like it's probably blown a little bit out of proportion. When I say he's unchanged, I think it's the way he goes racing, leaves it all out on the track. 

"And it's also what a lot of fans have admired about him. But do I think he matured since the start of his career? Absolutely. It's not like he's finding himself in these positions all the time. I don't think it needs any real addressing at the moment."

'Tough' racing is Verstappen's DNA

Ricciardo himself has personal experience of Verstappen's tough defensive tactics, with the pair having infamously collided in the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix whilst team-mates at Red Bull. 

The Australian accepts that any driver wanting to overtake the reigning world champion needs to be prepared for a fight, as it is in Verstappen's DNA to get his elbows out. 

"No one in this sport wants to be the one that gets bullied, you want to stand your ground against everyone," added Ricciardo. "Obviously, it's your reputation as well. 

"And when people come up to you on track, you don't want them to think, 'Oh, this guy is going to be an easy one for me'. 

“You always want to have your elbows out to an extent, we know Max from day one has always had his out. 

"And I think just naturally his DNA, he just is a tough racer. So it's not something he has to really dig deep for. That's just how he races. It's kind of unconditional with him that you're going to get a tough battle."

Also interesting:

In the latest RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian, Sam and Nick discuss the Austrian GP and look ahead to the British GP. Max Verstappen and Lando Norris' shocking clash is a HUGE talking point, as is Toto Wolff's radio blunder!

Rather watch the podcast? CLICK HERE!

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PODCAST Verstappen's brutal radio wrath causes Red Bull tension