Webber tips Ricciardo to beat Verstappen in 2017

Former Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber believes Daniel Ricciardo will hold the upper hand over Formula 1 teammate Max Verstappen in 2017.

Webber tips Ricciardo to beat Verstappen in 2017
Mark Webber, Porsche Team
(L to R): Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing on the podium with team mate Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing and Mark Webber, Porsche Team WEC Driver / Channel 4 Presenter
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Podium: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing with Mark Webber
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing at a team photograph

Speaking at the Bathurst 12 Hours on Saturday, Webber thinks Ricciardo’s extra experience over Verstappen will stand him in good stead with the new, more aggressive rules this year.

Ricciardo, who finished third in last year’s drivers’ championship, has 109 F1 starts to his name, while Verstappen – who only switched to Red Bull’s top team in May last year – has 40 grands prix under his belt.

When asked how he saw the intra-team fight at Red Bull in 2017, Webber said: “It will be tight, as it was at the end of last year.

“I think Daniel still has more composure. Obviously that experience will be very useful for him, particularly in the early part of the championship.

“When you’ve seen more regulation [changes], like he has done, driven different types of cars [including V8-era Toro Rosso and HRT machinery], that’s an advantage for him.

“It’s going to be a good battle there. But the composure side is a big plus for Daniel. He’s got plenty of fire too, and it’s all about putting the weekends together.

“Max is still learning, with that unbelievable talent.”

Red Bull can take on Mercedes

Webber believes that Red Bull has a serious opportunity to contend for the title in 2017, after three years of Mercedes dominance in the hybrid-turbo era.

“I think Red Bull have had a quiet winter and they’re going to be quite strong,” said Webber.

“It really depends on who unlocks these new regulations. Traditionally, Adrian [Newey, Red Bull’s chief technical officer] has been very good at that.

“Mercedes have had the luxury of closing out the constructors’ championship very early last year, so that gives you a big chance to put your resources into the next year’s programme earlier than anyone else potentially.

"They have a very good engine, we know that’s their main strength.

“Operationally, Red Bull were the best team last year. With reliability they were the best team, Mercedes had a few technical challenges.

"So if it’s nip and tuck when down to the fine points – Red Bull are very good at that.”

Additional reporting by Andrew van Leeuwen

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