Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says once Max Verstappen had been promoted to the top team in 2016 Daniel Ricciardo instantly improved his own performances – an effect he has also seen across the whole team.
Verstappen shot into the headlines when he was promoted up to Red Bull at the expense of Daniil Kvyat who completed the rest of the season with Toro Rosso.
Any criticisms of the move being too soon in the Dutch driver's progress in F1 were instantly shoot down when he won on his maiden outing for Red Bull at this year's Spanish Grand Prix – albeit aided by both Mercedes drivers taking one another out on the first lap.
While the 19-year-old has gathered much of the attention – including sweeping up a third straight FIA Action of the Year award plus back-to-back FIA Personality of the Year gongs at the FIA gala in Vienna
– Marko believes Verstappen's presence had a useful and instant effect on Ricciardo.
“They are both very fast drivers with different approaches,” Marko told Formula1.com. “I know from the bonus that he [Ricciardo] will get this year - our drivers are mainly on a bonus system - that Daniel is anything but invisible.
“When Max came to Red Bull Racing Daniel immediately raised his game. Daniel has huge potential but he also knows that Max is not an easy one. He has to go to the absolute limit to keep up. That pushes the whole team forward.”
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Red Bull bounced back from a difficult 2015 this year to take second place in the F1 world constructors' championship behind Mercedes.
Ricciardo ended the campaign third in the F1 drivers' standings with Verstappen narrowly edged into fifth by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
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