Daniel Ricciardo has claimed Max Verstappen is his toughest team-mate in Formula One, ahead of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
The Australian spent one season battling with Vettel before the German’s move to Ferrari – comfortably beating him in the drivers’ standings in 2014.
Verstappen was promoted from Toro Rosso to sister team Red Bull in May 2016, becoming the youngest driver to win a race in his first outing for the team in Spain, and has pushed Ricciardo since.
"I don’t want to take anything away from Seb - he is and was and still is a great driver - but I believe Max is the toughest team-mate. Hopefully he says the same for me..." told Channel 4.
It is perhaps an odd compliment to pay, given Verstappen’s aggressive style saw them crash in Hungary earlier this season.
"The marshal was pulling me off the track, I was like ‘don’t touch me’, I really wanted to wait for Max to drive past,” Ricciardo added. "In the heat of the moment I may have said some things… but I still feel that I handled myself all right.
"We’ve moved on. Obviously I was upset but that was out of my control, so what more can I do?
"He apologised like a man, that was important. We had a private sit down, pretty much like we are now but without the cameras, and we spoke so that was important."
Ricciardo, widely considered one of the fastest drivers on the grid, has won five races in his six-year F1 career. He was third in the drivers’ standings last year, behind runaway Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Ricciardo v Red Bull rivals
2014 Daniel Ricciardo, 238 points Sebastian Vettel, 167 points
2015 Daniel Ricciardo, 92 points Daniil Kvyat, 95 points
2016 Daniel Ricciardo, 256 points Max Verstappen, 204 points**
2017* Daniel Ricciardo, 162 points Max Verstappen, 68 points
**Verstappen joined Red Bull in May