Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner says he is excited by the 'incredibly healthy' rivalry emerging between drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, saying he can tell they are pushing each other to 'higher levels'.
Verstappen joined Red Bull Racing from the sister Toro Rosso team ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, round five of the 2016 F1 season, and immediately stamped his mark with a sensational victory around the Circuit de Catalunya.
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Since then, the Dutchman has proven evenly-matched with 'team leader' Ricciardo, the pair now split by just 15 points in the fight for third overall in the standings, but while some have viewed the brewing rivalry as a potential detriment to Red Bull, Horner considers this to be contrary
“I think both of them are pushing each other hard and that's what you want from two teammates,” he said. “I think they are both pushing each other to higher levels now and I think from a team perspective that's incredibly healthy.”
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With Ricciardo landing his second podium of the season in Hungary – only the third time he has beaten Verstappen since the Dutchman joined Red Bull -, Horner feels the Australian deserves a turnaround following some poor fortune.
“Daniel's had some bad luck in the first half of the year but I think Hungary has been a great race for him,” he continued. “A good confidence booster for the second half of the year.”
With six podiums from the last nine races – including the third place achieved by ex-RBR driver Daniil Kvyat in the Chinese Grand Prix – Red Bull is now just one point shy of Ferrari in the fight for second in the constructors' standings heading into this weekend's German Grand Prix.