Ricciardo tipped to replace Sergio Perez as Max Verstappen’s team-mate

Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step

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Daniel Ricciardo has been tipped to replace Sergio Perez as Max Verstappen’s team-mate at Red Bull, by former Formula 1 star Damon Hill. Ricciardo’s stay at McLaren came to an end prematurely this year, after he raced for the Woking-based team for the final time in Abu Dhabi last weekend despite having a year left on his contract.

Following his departure Ricciardo has made a move to Red Bull, with the Aussie star to play second fiddle to Verstappen and Perez as a reserve driver. Hill however believes the 33-year-old will get his chance behind the wheel at some point next campaign.

Despite the atmosphere looking positive in the Red Bull camp in Abu Dhabi following their double title win, tensions were high in Brazil the week before. This came after world champion Verstappen refused to move for Perez, who slammed his team-mate post-race.

Team principal Christian Horner has done his best to play down any talks of broken relations between the two drivers. Hill however believes if similar things carry on into 2023, Ricciardo could well come in and take the Mexican’s spot.

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Speaking to Sky Sports F1, the 1996 world champion said: “It could be quite an interesting one if you think about the problems they have apparently had between Max and Sergio. Let’s say the toys go out of the pram and there is some sort of fall out there, Daniel Ricciardo could be in prime position.

“It is his home, and he does owe a lot to Red Bull so he will be very keen to be back in that fold. What is it about the prodigal son who returns? He could be in a good position coming back and having learned a lot in other places. It can be that you can improve having been somewhere else then returning to the place you started.

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“That, of course, depends on Perez and Verstappen falling out. I am sure that Sergio’s contract is watertight and he will be there for a long time but if relationships deteriorate, sometimes it becomes unworkable, and the suspicion is Max has quite a lot of power in that team.”

He went on: “Not 100 percent sure that Perez will still be the team-mate next year. I think Ricciardo has a good chance. Behind the scenes it must be very, very aggressive and I think Max wants a new combination.”

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