Friday, 28 december 2018, 10:29 , by Matthew Scott
Max Verstappen aimed a thinly veiled dig at Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, saying he would likely be as quick as the five-time world champion if he were partnered with a teammate "who is not so fast" like the Finn at Red Bull.
Verstappen finished 2018 strongly to take fourth place in the drivers' standings despite a difficult start to the campaign which saw him make errors across each of the first six races.
He was still over 150 points adrift of champion Hamilton, who won 11 races while Bottas went through the season without a grand prix win.
While Verstappen had to battle Ricciardo – to costly consequences at time, as in Baku – the Dutchman believes Hamilton's dominance over his teammate helped him perform to a higher standard.
"Most drivers would become world champions in that car," Verstappen told AD. "Especially if you have a teammate next to you who is not so fast.
"If your teammate always drives so far behind, it is very easy to collect points.
"Of course I had Daniel Ricciardo much closer to me. Then you really have to fight for your points.
"There at Mercedes it was a completely different story. Hamilton, of course, fought against Ferrari, always had to stay sharp. But sometimes I sometimes think: the lesser your teammate is, the more relaxed you can drive yourself.
"And then you also know that the team is fully geared towards you. That only makes you faster."