Daniel Ricciardo ‘envious’ of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he is jealous of the epic world title battle Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton engaged in throughout the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Verstappen won his first drivers’ championship in incredibly dramatic fashion by passing Hamilton on the final lap of the final grand prix of the season.

And Ricciardo, who won his eighth F1 race at the Italian GP in 2021, begrudgingly accepts a degree of envy in not being involved in the classic title showdown.

“Of course, I’m envious,” he told an end-of-season press call, as quoted by GPFans. “But I’ve been envious for eight, nine years. It’s nothing new, but of course, it’s exciting the thought of it.

“For me like everyone, I’m a fan, I’m a driver, but I’m still a fan of the sport. It’s been great and take the envy aside, it’s awesome for F1 to have the battle. I can’t recall a year where two guys found themselves side by side on so many races. I feel like 75 per cent of races they’d gone wheel to wheel at some point, so it’s pretty awesome.

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“Of course, I wish I was part of it, but again, just for the sport and it’s been a while (since) Lewis has been taken to this water – taken out to this, what do you say, deep waters.

“It’s nice and you’ve also got, I know Max is not the young buck anymore, but he’s still that young generation, and obviously, Lewis is now one of the oldest guys on the grid. But it’s cool to see both ends of the spectrum go at it. From a fan point of view, it [was] awesome.”

Ricciardo will remain at McLaren for the 2022 season and be partnered by Britain’s Lando Norris.

Meanwhile, Verstappen is staying put at Red Bull and will team up once again with Mexican Sergio Perez.

But Hamilton will see a change of teammate in the Mercedes garage for 2022, with Briton George Russell replacing Valtteri Bottas. In turn, the Finn is taking Antonio Giovinazzi’s place at Alfa Romeo.

The first race of the new season will be in Bahrain on 20 March.

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