BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN — APRIL 05: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing pose for a photo during previews ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 5, 2018 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN — APRIL 05: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing pose for a photo during previews ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 5, 2018 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Who’s better: Ricciardo or Verstappen?

ONE is an F1 history-maker enduring the toughest spell of his entertaining career, one is hailed as the sport's best overtaker and, in scintillating form, is set to be the hottest property on the 2019 driver market.

The recent displays of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo stirred up quite the debate on this week's F1 Report: Azerbaijan Preview - with our guests also pondering the tough question: Who is the better Red Bull driver?

The talented duo have started the season in vastly different fashion, with Verstappen making costly mistakes in all three of 2018's opening grands prix while his teammate is already off the mark with a victory.

PAYDAY: Ricciardo's contract demands revealed

 

(R-L) Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
(R-L) Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Verstappen's performance in China led to questions about his driving style - something Christian Horner insists doesn't need to change - and this week's guests, joining Natalie Pinkham in the studio, agreed with the Red Bull boss.

"I don't think he needs to change a single thing," ex-editor of F1 Racing magazine and former head of communications of McLaren Matt Bishop said on the F1 Report, which airs on Sky Sports F1 at 8.30pm on Wednesday night.

"He's 20 years old, still very young. He's a brilliant driver, extremely fast. At this stage in his career he's having a few skirmishes and giving Christian Horner a headache.

"But back in 2010 my old [McLaren] boss Martin Whitmarsh and I coined a phrase as a bit of a sound bite to wind up Red Bull - we called Sebastian [Vettel] 'the crash kid', and it stuck.

"He went on to win four world championships, and nobody calls him the crash kid now!"

Former F1 driver and Le Mans champion David Brabham concurred, adding: "I think this year he's making the wrong choices, so that tells me his mindset isn't quite right.

"I don't think he needs to change his driving style - if he just changes his mindset it will all flow together."

Ricciardo, meanwhile, has been creating quite the buzz since his Chinese GP victory, and that's not just because of his stunning drive. The Australian is out of contract at the end of the season and is open to negotiating with both Mercedes and Ferrari, with Red Bull setting him a summer deadline for a 2019 decision.

While reports suggest Ricciardo has signed an option with Ferrari, both our guests felt it was more likely that he would end up at world champions Mercedes.

"If you're a betting man you'd say Mercedes," said Brabham. "Lewis would know it would raise him, and Daniel will rise himself to another level."

Bishop concluded: "People have been hyping him for Ferrari but would Sebastian have him back? Daniel was too good for him at Red Bull in that car. Sebastian wants a Kimi [Raikkonen], or another Kimi. Somebody compliant, good, friendly, non-troublesome.

"It's not Mercedes' policy to have a number one and two driver, but at Ferrari, it is."

The vote

"It's a brilliant driver line-up, they're both brilliant drivers, it's the best driver line-up in the sport," added Bishop.

But when Sky F1's Natalie Pinkham asked fans on Twitter who was the better driver - Verstappen or Ricciardo - the poll came back with an 82 per cent majority in Ricciardo's favour.

But was that because of his recent exploits in Shanghai, compared to Verstappen's woes?

"I don't think that's representative, it's to do with where they were at that race," said Brabham. "It was a stunning race from Daniel, Max made a few mistakes and if you were going to make a decision there and then, of course you'd go for Daniel.

"But that all could change next weekend."

What do you think? Have your say below ...

This article originally appeared on Sky Sports and has been reproduced with permission.

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