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Verstappen: Anyone but Ricciardo I would have pushed wide

Max Verstappen says the outcome of his thrilling battle with Daniel Ricciardo in Malaysia would have been different if he hadn't been racing his teammate.

Verstappen: Anyone but Ricciardo I would have pushed wide
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 leads team mate Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing drive around Tokyo in a Bosozuko Car
Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing drive around Tokyo in a Bosozuko Car
Podium: race winner Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing drive around Tokyo in a Bosozuko Car
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 leads team mate Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 leads team mate Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12

Verstappen and Ricciardo battled wheel to wheel through several corners shortly before race leader Lewis Hamilton's engine blew up.

And although Ricciardo was able to hold on before their fight was called off by the virtual safety car coming out, Verstappen says he would not have been so generous in their battle if he had been racing any other rival.

"In to Turn 6, I was like 'well, if it was someone else next to me, then I would have got the move done'," he explained, reflecting on the fight that ultimately decided who won the race.

"I would have pushed them wide, but it's your teammate so you can't."

Freedom to race

Verstappen praised the way that Red Bull had elected not to impose team orders, and the fact that he and Ricciardo had proven

"We showed to the team that we could do it in a very respectful way and I think that shows for the future also a lot of confidence," said the Dutchman.

It is something that Ricciardo was happy about too, as he said he never considered the possibility of Red Bull electing to order him to let Verstappen through.

"It didn't come across my mind that the team would say let Max pass, for we were racing," explained Ricciardo. "I didn't really expect a call anyway, I didn't expect it. It was cool.

"I am sure when we came into Turn 5, from the outside, the camera angles make it look the closest. I am sure the team was like...just waiting for both of us to spear off.

"But it was good fun, and nice to be given the chance to race like that and also show the team that we can be sensible in the heat of battle and the heat of the moment."

No frustration

Verstappen also insisted that he was not annoyed at seeing an opportunity to score a second race win slip through his fingers.

"No frustrations," he said. "You have to see the positive side and I think that the whole weekend was very strong. The pace was there.

"It was just a bit unfortunate with the last virtual safety car. But that is racing as well. Sometimes it doesn't go your way. I still have a lot of years ahead of me, so I shouldn't be complaining about this single race."

Don’t miss our Japanese GP video preview…

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo , Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Jonathan Noble
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