Red Bull could teach Mercedes how to do rivalries right

Sharon Wong
Subscriber

Rivalries within a team are just the worst. Or maybe, they’re the best thing ever. Christian Horner seems to think so, anyway.

Source: @ESPNF1/Twitter
Source: @ESPNF1/Twitter

If you were a team boss observing how things are playing out in Mercedes, you’d hear alarm bells ringing at the first spark of competitive spirit in your drivers. But Red Bull shows us that there’s a healthy way to be cutthroat, even in F1. Christian Horner is absolutely delighted that Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen live to best each other on the track. Right now, the two are pretty evenly matched, with only 15 points separating them in the fight for third, and are really pushing themselves to greater heights to be numero uno.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 30:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing in their lederhosen themed race suits during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 30, 2016 in Spielberg, Austria.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JUNE 30: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing in their lederhosen themed race suits during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 30, 2016 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Some people are already feeling leery of the battle of wills brewing, Horner is pooh-poohing their caution. After all, isn’t this what racing is really about?

“I think both of them are pushing each other hard and that’s what you want from two teammates. I think they are both pushing each other to higher levels now and I think from a team perspective, that’s incredibly healthy.”

Christian Horner

Well, he’s not wrong. After all, what’s a race if not an eternal struggle to come up tops? Of course, rivalries are always volatile situations that have great potential to get out of hand. But if you can keep things from getting too messy, why not capitalise on a bit of good-natured dueling? We’re all absolutely riveted when teammates get a bit competitive; the show never stops, both on the track and off it.

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Ricciardo is one to watch in particular, as he’s been hungry for a title to his name for a while and has only beat Verstappen for the third time at the Hungarian GP. He’s got a lot of talent and a lot to prove, which only makes his every move all the more captivating for the rest of us.

Watch and learn, Toto Wolff.

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