Australian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo has claimed Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner gave him free rein to race against the Austrian team's cars during the former Red Bull man's early years in the sport.
Ricciardo who made it to Formula 1 as a Red Bull junior raced for the energy drink company's junior team Toro Rosso for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The Australian recollects how he once found himself battling with then Red Bull driver Mark Webber.
"When I was at Toro Rosso, it was maybe even easier we were never really close to Red Bull," Ricciardo told RacingNews365.com.
"They won championships, while we had to fight for a place in the top ten. If there was ever a Red Bull behind us, we were expected not to make things too difficult for each other.
"Although, when I think back to the Singapore Grand Prix in 2012 I was in the points and for whatever reason Mark Webber was behind me in the final stint of the race. and I was free to race with him. I defended myself as hard as I could. After all, I was ninth and that meant a lot to me in 2012.
"In situations like that, we were allowed to really race with each other, without thinking too long about who we were fighting with. Of course, you always have to find a balance in that, but I think that Red Bull has as much as possible acted."
Ricciardo also described how manufacturers shouldn't be allowed to pressure their suppliers and ultimately the fastest cars should be allowed to race each other.
"Ultimately if you're faster you should be able to try something," Ricciardo stated.
"At that point, those guys deserve more respect and shouldn't necessarily act in the best interest of the team. Like a driver's determination. wants to show, then that should speak to his advantage."
The Australian finally offered his opinion on the Valtteri Bottas and George Russell incident at Imola.
"I don't know exactly what the situation was between Bottas and Russell, but if Russell felt he could actually overtake him, why not?" Ricciardo asked. "But it is and remains a difficult call and I'm glad I don't have to make it."